Mealybugs are a small, white garden pest that attaches themselves to the plants in your yard and garden and suck out the moisture and sap from the interior. An infestation of mealybugs can quickly tear through your garden and kill your plants if left unchecked. Thankfully, there are a few different processes that you can put into place to eliminate a mealybug infestation before it has the chance to cause serious damage:
Signs of Mealybugs
The clearest signs of a mealybug infestation are the actual bugs themselves, which are small, white, and have a waxy coating over their shell, but they can be hard to see sometimes depending on the size of your garden and the size of the infestation. Look for dehydrated and browning or yellowing plants that should otherwise be healthy, as well black mold sprouting on plants in your garden, and inspect those plants for mealybugs under leaves and at folds in the stems.
The wax coating on the shells of mealybugs will prevent most chemical treatments from working, so you'll have to make use of alternative methods. Removal of the bugs themselves can be effective: simply pick them off your plants and drop them into soapy warm water to kill them. Alternatively, you can use a pressure washer to blow away larger amounts of mealybugs that can be harder to pick off by hand. Alternatively, if the infestation is localized to a single plant in your garden, you may want to consider removing that one plant to prevent the mealybugs from spreading throughout your yard and garden. As a last resort, you can make use of commercial pesticides, but you'll have to use multiple applications due to mealybugs' natural resistance to these chemicals, which can cause a great deal of distress to the other insect populations in your garden and thus should only be used if all other methods have failed.
While implementing the above methods can cut down on an existing mealybug population, you should also take steps to prevent future infestations from taking hold. You can purchase mealybug ladybirds, which resemble darker versions of regular ladybirds, from most hardware and garden supply stores, and introduce them into your garden. These insects will feed on mealybugs and prevent a full-blown infestation from taking root again in the future. You should also take care to inspect any new plants that you consider adding into your garden in the future for mealybugs and mealybug eggs, as well as the telltale signs of mealybug infestation (black mold and yellowing leaves) discussed above.
Contact a company like Bio-Lab Pest & Termite Control for more information and assistance.