Mealybugs are scale-like insects with a white, waxy protective covering that makes infested plants appear to be covered in cotton. These pests are tiny – from 1/32 to 1/8 inch long – but are very hard to control because of the wax-like threads they cover themselves with.
Mealybugs damage plants by sucking sap, causing yellowing, stunted growth, galls and dieback. They also excrete honeydew that attracts Wasps, Ants and Bees and can serve as a medium on which Sooty Mold can grow. Immature Mealybugs are very active, moving all around a plant looking for an optimal feeding spot. As they mature, they become more inactive, moving around very little.
Mealybugs are found throughout the United States and are a common pest of houseplants.
Similar or Related Pests
Mealy Bugs, Tea Scale, Magnolia Scale, Woolly Adelgid and Woolly Apple Scale
- Cleaning houseplants plants with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol can help control mealy bugs.
- A strong spray of water can also reduce numbers.