Mealybugs: Making Pseudococcidae Pests Go Away For Good

Ed Wike
Written by
Last update:

Mealybugs Overview

Mealybugs are a type of insects in the pseudococcidae family. Contrary to popular belief, they are not true bugs. They are a type of scale insect.

A female lays her eggs in batches and protects them with her legs and excretions. They are sap-sucking, plant parasites that feed on leaves, stems and roots.

They are found globally in the tropical and subtropical regions. Mealybugs feed on over 700 plant species. They may settle in the soil or on the roots of a plant.

Pseudococcidae are common pests on most orchids and on the plants of the coffee family. Mealybugs have no wings. Adults and immatures have the same soft body that is covered with a white, waxy substance. There may be a few baby mealybugs hidden in the white cottony mass.

Mealybugs are a common pest on terrestrial orchids grown indoors. They may also be found on the roots or growing medium of the orchid. Mealybugs are a common pest of succulents grown indoors.

Adults are usually less than 0.5 cm in length. They are slow-moving, but they can move quickly when you try to capture them.

Types Of Mealybugs

You'll need to know what type of mealybug is living on your plant in order to kill it. Some mealybugs appear in a powdery form while others are more like insects. That's why it's important to identify the specific mealybug, so you can choose the right treatment.

The most common mealybugs belong to the Pseudococcidae family. Pseudococcidae feed on the fluids of plants, weakening their growth. The powdery mealybug is small and reddish and can cause flowers on flowers to become distorted. The cottony mealybug can be seen sticking to the branches of your plant. The adult mealybug will look like a little yellow and white insect, and the young mealybugs are light yellow in color and form cotton-like fibers.

The second most common mealybug is Lepidoseiidae. While mealybugs in this family are similar to the Pseudococcidae family, they feed on leaf sap. The leaves of your plant will begin to yellow and they will become covered with a waxy substance. Some mealybugs will look like cotton while others will appear as small insects.

Life Cycle Of Mealybugs

There are several different species of these white, cottony little insects that can reside on plants. They are soft bodied creatures with long antennae and a pear-shaped body. Some species, known as the planthopper, are found only on plants. The mealy bug is typically a pest that inhabits the soil where the roots may even be living!

As far as the life cycle of mealy bugs is concerned, the egg stage typically lasts about five to seven days. During this stage, the young hatch out of their egg and are very small, around the size of a pin head. They reach maturity in about three weeks. The adult is the most likely stage that you will be most familiar with and this is the soft, white color that the bugs have. As for their life span, females have a life span of up to a year and males, six months to a year.

During the beginning of the life cycle, the egg will hatch and the young mealy bug will remain in the same place that it hatched out of for a couple of days. During this time, it is quite vulnerable and biologists have gathered quite a bit of information regarding what draws the young mealy bug to move into the soil.

Common Habitats For Mealybugs

Mealybugs can be particularly damaging because they secrete a sweet liquid called honeydew, which can quickly turn into an annoying sticky mess.

If you notice any sap, aphids, or mealybugs on the leaves of your plant, control the pest immediately. To add insult to injury, mealybugs spread like wildfire. If you don’t quickly eliminate all the adult pests, the population will continue to grow and spread throughout your house.

How do mealybugs spend their time? Since they thrive in warm, dry environments, it’s common to find mealybugs in greenhouses, conservatories, and the corners of rooms.

In the case of indoor plants, you are most likely to notice mealybugs on the underside of the leaves, or because they’re so small, you might not notice them at all. If the mealybugs are on the leaves you can take them off with a dry cloth. They do tend to stick to there, so you will need a little bit of elbow grease to get them off.

Mealybugs will also try and set up house in the soil or compost, so check the soil if you’re growing any indoor plants; they are unlikely to be seen on the plant, as they tend to hide at the base of the leaves.

What Do Mealybugs Eat?

Advance warning: This is not a pleasant read for the squeamish or the faint of heart.

Mealybugs are related to the aphid. Mealybugs are insects that suck sap from plants and animals. They are not the prettiest creatures on the planet, and they are one of the many garden pests.

Mealybugs are difficult to spot, due to their size and their protective outer coating. In large groups, it is often not until you see a lot of damage, rather than individual insects that attract your attention. Mealybugs are soft, plump, and oval shaped. Colors can vary, but the most common are grey, red, brown, green, and white.

Mealybugs are a tropical pest. However, they can live off a wide temperature range, from 20 to 30 degrees centigrade. They lay their eggs and raise their offspring in and on a host plant. Mealybugs feed by inserting their beak-like mouth into plant tissue to suck the sap. Mealybugs are often found in warm, dry, sheltered places.

In a greenhouse environment, the mealybug can be a problem throughout the growing season because of its ability to survive unfavorable conditions, even the cold. Mealybugs can overwinter in greenhouses or nurseries either as eggs or larvae. Adult females crawl away to find a better location to lay their eggs.

Mealybugs And Ants

Pseudococcidae are typically very annoying pests because of the damage they leave behind in their wake. The damage also encourages the growth of mold in the affected areas of your house. Mealybugs that are found on your vegetables or in your houseplants should be removed because of the damage that they can do to the plants. In addition, mealybugs can introduce bacteria to your plants. This can be used to help them to remain healthy.

The approach that you take to get rid of meal bugs in your houseplant and in your garden or in your house will, however, depend on the type of mealy bugs that you have. If you are dealing with the white mealybugs, their removal is not simple because they generally live in the crevices that are found in your house. However, you can use an insecticidal soap to kill them. You can also use rubbing alcohol to get rid of the mealybugs in your house.

If you are dealing with the fuzzy brown mealybugs, you can use the same methods to remove them. However, if you are dealing with the black mealy bugs, you should not attempt to get rid of them as they are very difficult to get rid of and most people have to resort to physically removing the mealybugs to eliminate them. You can, however, physically remove the mealybugs from your plants.

How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs

One pest that is prolific in aquariums is the Mealybug. The reason this parasite is so persistent in household tanks is that they lay their eggs in the mouth of the fish. In some cases, the fish gives birth to live pests that emerge from the fish's mouth. This is especially common in goldfish.

The next problem with this pest is that it is a highly destructive parasite. It has a weak sucking mouth part that allows it to suck the fluids out of the fish, Starfish, and other invertebrates.

More than a few fish can die in this way.

However, there is a very simple way to stop this mechanism if it has already begun. You need to thoroughly and carefully remove these parasites from the body of the host. If there are any live ones inside the mouth they need to be removed.

Once you have cleaned the fish you need to get rid of the parasites.

Here’s what you can do.

Let the fish go free in the tank but use a quarantine tank if it is necessary.

Add the following solutions together and add this to the quarantine tank.

Brackish Tap Water

The fish needs to stay in the quarantine tank for a period ranging from 10 days to 2 weeks. This will allow the parasite to hatch and become an adult.

Organic Mealybug Control

Why It Works

Pseudococcidae is a species of extremely annoying pests. Also known as mealybugs, they latch onto plants and suck out their sap. They are nearly impossible to remove manually.

Their eggs are small and easily fall into the tiniest cracks and crevices, and once they hatch, you have hundreds of them. These bugs are often found in greenhouses, on citrus plants, and in soil. They are also common on indoor plants, in most of the outdoor environments, and on trees too.

The good thing is they can be easily removed using organic methods. There are safe and effective solutions that will take care of your plants without causing harm to your family and the environment.

Here you’ll find a three step plan that will eliminate these mealybugs for good.

First, remove the bugs manually. Use forceps to knock off the bugs, making sure to remove the little yellow eggs as well. If you’re squeamish about killing the bugs personally, replace forceps with soap and water.

Second, spray the plants with warm water to remove any eggs or leftover residue. Let dry. The use of warm water is an effective organic control for mealybugs. As a bonus, you’ll also be helping your plants stay hydrated in this dry time of year.

Environmental Mealybug Control

There are some simple things you can do to deter them from setting up camp in your plants. The primary pests in veggie gardens are the Mealybugs. These small wingless creatures are soft, slow-moving, and use their wax coating to deter predators. To humans they appear as little specks of cotton, ranging in color from white to brown.

  • To deter Mealybugs:
  • Avoid placing plants with Mealybugs infestations around plants with healthy plants
  • Avoid overwatering especially in the winter
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling plants and other plants to reduce the chance of spread
  • Do not crush the bugs and eggs, they simply will continue thriving
  • Eliminate alternate food sources
  • To take action:
  • Remove infested plants when seeing a high population
  • Spray with insecticides, and continue application every 2 weeks until no new pests appear
  • Treat with a biopesticide. One of the safest and most effective is chitin
  • Keep pets, who love to pinch bugs, away from the garden.

Preventing Mealybugs

A sure-fire way to prevent an infestation is to stabilize the environment. It’s never a good idea to introduce a slew of new items into the aquarium without testing your water first. Weaker water conditions can leave you at the mercy of these pests … even if the item is brand new.

Since you likely use (or will use) a filter, it’s extremely important to monitor the condition of the filter. If you notice any darkened or dirty areas, take out the filter media (carbon and mechanical components) and rinse them off with aerated tank water. If algae or bacterial bloom is the culprit, replace the media. If masses of black mold are present, discard the media. Before installing the new filter media, disinfect the inside of the filter canister, too. This way, no fungi, bacteria, or algae will be transferred from your filter to the aquarium.

Any ground areas near the tank also need to be sanitized to prevent an infestation. If your table, counter, cabinets, or floor aren’t properly cleaned, you might be looking at a pest problem. Wash the surfaces with a ten percent solution of bleach. Check out more detailed information for killing and preventing pests in aquariums and ponds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mealybugs are a serious problem for plants and plant owners because these pests have cleaned out vases, houseplants, and ornamental plants. You might not realize you have mealybugs until you notice their small soft-bodied bodies, cotton-like masses, and shapeless cotton patches on your plant leaves. You can get rid of these pests and keep them away by following the steps below.

How to Naturally Kill Mealybugs

Mealybugs are both nasty and silent pests. They may not cause any harm to your plants, but their presence and survival on your plants are similar to a wound. When mealybugs get on your plants, your plants suffer from poor air circulation, slower growth, and possibly root rot. If the mealybugs populations grow on your plants, they might also be an attraction site for even worse pests and diseases or they could spread to other plants. If you ever find mealybugs on your plants, do not kill them. Instead, learn how to get rid of mealybugs so you can keep your plant leaves and your good garden vibes.

Identifying Mealybugs

Mealybugs are an indoor and outdoor pest, but mostly indoor pests. They are a sap sucking insect that can range in shape or form, but they are soft-bodied, have a waxy, cotton-like appearance, and live in colonies on the underside of plant leaves.

Q: Are mealy bugs harmful to humans?

A: No. Mealybugs are not considered harmful to humans.

Mealybugs are a common pest in the warmer areas of the world. They’re a white, cotton-like insect that can be found on a variety of different plants and areas. They’re very annoying if you have them in your home.

Mealybugs usually live and breed on a single plant, although there are some varieties that can migrate to other plants. They feed by sucking sap from the leaves, stems, and roots of the plants they infest.

They lay egg sacs on the plant and hatch a wide variety of different insects, which can pick up the love of plant life and continue the pest.

Mealybugs are likely to cause such harm to a plant that it will eventually die.