It happens every winter. No matter how carefully I try to de-bug my plants before bringing them indoors in September, by January I’m finding these little cottony critters on several of them. Most every year, they pop up on my succulents, like the jade plants and the portulacaria afra. This year, they’re on the lantana, too (see photo).
They are called mealybugs, and they look cottony.
In the past, thanks to guidance from the bonsai club daughter #3 and I attend, I’ve tried killing them with q-tips dipped in alcohol. But that becomes tiresome. This year, a few people recommended using a “systemic” product. This means that the product gets into the plant itself to repel the bugs. Sounds good!
The club members recommended Bayer systemic. Once I got to the store, I realized that picking this up wasn’t going to be that simple. There are lots of Bayer products!
I bought a few possibilities, then came home and contacted Bayer itself to ask their opinion. They replied:
“We would not suggest using the Bayer Advanced All-In-One Rose and Flower Care concentrate on any potted or container plants since, we cannot guarantee the results. There are two problems you can have with this type of application.
The first is that you could lose the product and water mixture through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Secondly since the roots are restricted there is also a chance it could burn the roots and damage the plant.
We would suggest using the Bayer Advanced Roses & Flower Dual Action with Beta-Cyfluthrin and Imidacloprid. It will give approximately 30 days of control. This product is a mild systemic. When applied, it is absorbed into the plant. Indoor plants should be taken outdoors to spray, once dry may take plants back indoors.”
So, I bought Bayer Advanced Rose & Flower Insect Killer, which was about $6 at Lowe’s. Beginning in November, I took susceptible plants outside, and sprayed them. I let them “dry” and brought them back inside.
I repeated this each month, since the product works “up to 30 days.” Each month, I’d add new plants to the “parade” as mealybugs appeared. I would say that so far I’ve been pleased. My succulents, the main plants affected in past years, are much freer of these cottony pests than they have been in the past.
Have you noticed mealybugs on houseplants? What have you used to get rid of them?