Mealybug Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from mealybugs by learning techniques for identification and control.

Family Pseudococcidae

Treatment

How do I get rid of mealybugs?

What Orkin Does

If you suspect you have mealybugs infesting your plants, contact your local Orkin branch office for an inspection and to prepare an integrated mealybug treatment plan to effectively and efficiently resolve the problem. The complexity of mealybug treatment is situational.

Depending on the number of plants that are infested and the location of the infested plants, the appropriate treatment plan may range from very simple prevention and control to somewhat more complex and widespread treatment techniques.

For the homeowner, mealybug control may not be expensive, but can be very time consuming since success depends upon a very careful inspection process. The easiest solution for the homeowner may simply be tossing out infested plants.

If disposal is not an option, the homeowner can “quarantine” plants for 10-14 days as a way to ensure infested plants are not brought home.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Mealybugs

Appearance

Mealybugs are very small, soft-bodied, oval-shaped insects that are covered with a white, powdery wax coating. In addition, many mealybug species have projections extending from their body, giving them the appearance of having many legs on the side and rear of the body. When seen on plants, they look like very small spots of cotton.

Mealybugs move slowly, but when they find a suitable location on the plant, they often become immobile and form clusters on the plant.

Diet

Mealybugs feed by sucking plant juices which weakens the plant and causes the plant’s leaves to turn yellow, wilt and drop. The insects also produce honeydew, a sticky substance that increases mold growth on plants and attracts feeding ants. If the mealybug infestation is not eliminated, the plant will probably die.

Mealybugs & Ants

Mealybugs attract ants by excreting honeydew, a sticky, sweet substance that the ants feed on. Plants infested with mealybugs usually have leaves that turn yellow and wilt, and if the infestation is not eliminated, the plant may eventually die.

Habitat

Mealybugs are plant feeders and will infest most parts of their host plant. They normally are located on the underside of plant leaves and stems, and populate many outdoor plants such annuals, bushes and shrubs. Mealybugs will heavily infest almost any plants in greenhouses, homes or businesses. They feed by forcing their needle-like piercing mouthparts into the plant and use a sucking action to remove the plant juices.

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