Mealy bugs are very small (3-6mm) white fuzzy bugs. They look like tiny fluffs of cotton.
Mealy bugs (left)-Biopol Biosystems, Mealy bugs on ornamental (right)-University of California
They are plant sucking insects that feed on leaves and can attack any foliage plant. Nymphs are brown. Males have wings and are tinier than females but do not feed on leaves.
Habitat and Lifecycle
These are found worldwide and attack many different plants. A female can lay several hundred eggs at one time sheltering them with her body until they are large enough. Eggs hatch in 2-3 weeks. Females die after eggs hatch. In the home the lifecycle is continuous….outside there may be at least two generations.
Severe Infestation-Nature’s Control
Diet and Damage
Orchids, fuschias, cactus, coleus, hibiscus, fig trees, citrus trees, houseplants, flowers and many ornamentals. They cause stunting, yellowing and wilting, eventually causing leaf drop in host plants. They feed on stems, shoots and leaves. The sap they excrete can cause sooty mold. Ants are attracted to the sap that is excreted.
Parasitic wasps, ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic flies and beneficial beetles can be bought at most nurseries and garden shops.
2) Hand Pick
Scrape them off with your nail or dip a qtip in alcohol and wipe them off. Be sure to wait a few minutes and wash the plant off in case the alcohol was transferred to the plant.
3) Soap Sprays
A few drops of soap in water and blasted directly on the bugs. Soap won’t kill them unless they are doused with it.
4) Bioneem or Neem Oil sprays
This is a product that you can spray on your bugs and it is made with natural neem oil. Use as directed on label