Mealybugs are the most common pest found on any indoor plant. They can take several weeks to become visible to naked eye, and you’re most likely to find an infestation on a newly bought plant.
Mature mealybugs are often white in appearance, though some can be cream or tan, and will be accompanied by a white, cottony web. The adults measure up to half a centimetre and the small larvae (or ‘crawlers’) are about a millimetre in size. Be sure to thoroughly inspect your whole plant as every part of it above the soil line is susceptible to mealybugs. A mature female can live for two months and is basically a baby making machine in this time, she can lay hundreds of eggs before dying. They’re at their most active during warmer months, but may still multiply throughout the year
- Crush as many bugs and their cottony webs as possible using a damp cloth with lukewarm water. We recommend using an old toothbrush on your more prickly plants. Smaller larvae may bury themselves in tight nooks within the plant, so it's essential to scan the whole plant from the soil line upwards.
- Gently rinse the plant under a tap and ensure that the bugs have been washed off.
- Pop the plant in a warm, bright room away from other specimens to dry-off. If the temperature is above 12℃ at night, keep it outside so that natural predators (like ladybirds) can have a go at the critters, too.
- Once the specimen is bone-dry, which may take a few hours, spray it with pesticide.
- You can use natural Neem Oil, or D.E. powder that has been mixed with water to create a solution, but for a quicker result, use SB Plant Invigorator and Bug Killer.
- Keep your plant quarantined away from other plants until the symptoms have gone, this will take at least six weeks. In some cases, dormant eggs may hatch several months after deeming the specimen pest-free, so keep an eye out for a potential relapse. Keep other specimens safe by distancing the infected plant at least 50cm away.