Mealybugs, the name itself is just plain gross. These nasty f*%ks are soft bodied scale insects that love warm weather and the indoors. They're a very common pest. While they will go after a variety of plants they love the nooks and crannies of fleshy succulents.
Your once happy plant has yellowing leaves, or even dead and dying parts. It looks moldy, but you know you didn’t overwater. Look closer & see if you’ve got the disgusting pest known as mealybug. I scored my ant plant in South Carolina and brought it all the way back to WV and then found them...
See these yellowing leaves? I knew I didn't overwater.
When investigating any issue be sure to examine all parts of the plant including the undersides of leaves and the stem. Here are a couple under a leaf.
You'll usually see one of the lifestages of females. Part of the life cycle includes spinning sticky ass webs that are also so gross.
So now what to do? You'll need some specific supplies to wage war. No need for congress authorization. GO TO WAR.
Step one is to clean off all of the mealies and any webbing. Dip your cotton swabs in alcohol & go to town wiping the nasty buggers off. Swirl around in all those crevices. Get a new swab often & wipe excess alcohol on paper towel. Let’s not get your plant buzzed…
Once you've cleaned up the sh*+ show it's time for Neem. Neem oil comes from the neem tree and is an all-natural leaf shine, fungicide, and pesticide. You can buy pre-emulsified neem ready to mix with water like you see in the supply pic above for anywhere from $9-$18 OR you can buy single mix pre-emulsifed packs from us for $3. We also offer packets with added scent that makes the smell a bit more pleasant. Get them in-store or here https://www.theplantcultllc.com/products/neem-packet?_pos=1&_sid=40981c4a0&_ss=r
Spray the neem oil spray on both sides of the leaves, on the stem, in those crevices, and the top of the soil. Wipe the leaves down with paper towel to clean up the excess. BAM, you’ve got a pest treatment, a leaf clean & shine, and a bitter taste to deter any of your furbabies from chewing. BONUS!
Note on succulent leaves I try to use less spray directly on the leaves and to soak up as much of the spray as possible with the paper towel. This is to prevent clogging up the pores as they're super important on succs for proper water respiration. HOWEVER; when at war with mealies they may be bad enough that it is better to go all out as you may lose the plant to the mealies before you'd lose it to plugged up pores.
I beat the mealybugs on my ant plant, but sadly lost it to stem rot in the caudex. Watch for another blog on methods to try to beat rot, but is tough to get ahead of especially on a caudex/fat bottom boi.
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