How to Get Rid of Mealybugs

Mealybugs can be a frustrating pest for indoor and outdoor gardeners alike. These small, white insects can infest a wide range of plants and quickly multiply, causing damage to leaves, flowers, and stems. If you’ve noticed mealybugs on your plants, don’t panic – there are effective ways to get rid of these pests. In this article, we’ll explore how to get rid of mealybugs, so you can protect your plants and keep them healthy.”

Although mealybugs aren’t harmful to humans, you can care a lot about your precious plants and can’t see them suffer. 

Because you know they’ll spread from plant to plant in no time. They cause severe damage by sucking the juice from specific host plants, particularly from new growth.

You can easily treat light to moderate mealybugs with the right methods and proper guide. It can be tough, but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible!

Also Read: Succulent stem turning Brown – Understanding causes, remedies, and prevention

First, isolate the infected plant from other houseplants without wasting more time.

But first, it would be interesting to understand a few basic things about Mealybugs.

Also Read: Is Wood Ash Good For Succulents?

What Causes Mealybugs?

how to get rid of mealybugs on succulents

Mealybugs, in general, tend to be drawn to plants that are abundant with specific juices they prefer to feed on.

Especially the citrus trees are highly susceptible, and these little creatures can pose severe damage to commercial crops.

Not just this, but they can infest many indoor plants, too.

Mainly, they are attracted to plants with soft growth and high nitrogen levels. Above all, the over-fertilization and overwatering of the plants highly captivate them.

Related: Why Neem Oil is not working on Mealybugs.

Why Mealybugs Attack Plants

Well, it can be because of a few potential reasons!

As I said earlier, high nitrogen levels and overwatering are something that makes them enter that area without any invitation.

As a result, they easily enter those places and attack them.

But wait things don’t end here!

After attacking a specific plant, they start crawling from one plant to another, which is a sign of a huge disaster. 

Although it looks like they don’t move, they absolutely do, especially when branches or leaves overlap. Therefore, the contaminated plants should always be isolated to cease this spread!

How Do Mealybugs Affect Plants

Mealybugs can normally suck sap from the phloem of plants, which reduces plant vigor.

Also, they excrete sticky wax and honeydew, which lessens the quality of fruit and overall plant in no time.

When they cause damage to indoor plants, it becomes really tough to get rid of them!

But here’s a positive side that the pests are thankfully not harmful to humans and pets. However, if you’re sensitive to catching allergic reactions, just be careful.

How To Get Rid of Mealybugs

Now that you know how severely mealybugs can damage your precious plants, you’re surely looking for an effective solution. Right?

Note: If you treat this plant, make sure to wear gloves or wash your hands before you touch other plants in your house or garden.

No more delay; let’s dig into how to get rid of these irritating pests;

How to get rid of mealybugs in spill

Non-chemical methods normally provide enough control for outdoor planting in landscapes and gardens. The waxy coating of mealybugs repels contacting insecticides. And their bad habit of aggregating in hidden places makes them even hard to reach. 

In that case, getting rid of these pests in spills works amazingly. This treatment may be useful to control them where biological ways aren’t effective enough.

Spot Treatment with Isopropyl Alcohol

Follow these steps to treat mealybugs with Isopropyl Alcohol:

  1. To control small infestations of mealybugs on houseplants, you can use a solution of 70% or less isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol in water. 
  2. Simply dab the affected areas directly with a cotton swab soaked in the solution to either kill or remove the mealybugs.
  3. Test the solution on a small part of your plant a day before you apply it to ensure that it doesn’t cause phytotoxicity (leaf burn).
  4. In some cases, an isopropyl alcoholic solution of 10-25% can also be applied with the help of a spray bottle. Repeat this process every week unless the infestation is gone.
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Treatment with Insecticides

The second productive way to kill these fluffy creatures is by using insecticidal souls, neem oil, and horticultural oil.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. First, make sure to test the phytotoxicity of these materials beforehand.
  2. If you need intense treatment, use a non-toxic, biodegradable insecticide.
  3. Now, spray the stem and leaves with it, or simply use a swab or cotton ball.
  4. After that, you have to wipe off every single part of your plant that is under mealybugs’ attack.

Follow all these steps carefully! Also, avoid using excessive doses of the products to prevent leaf or root burn.

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How to Get Rid of Mealybugs Naturally

There are several natural ways to get rid of these irritating species. Have a look below to uncover most of them:

  1. Introduce common parasites to them. Ladybugs and lacewings are natural predators of mealybugs and can help control their populations. (You can purchase these insects online or at your local garden center and release them into your garden).
  2. A ring of petroleum or any sticky material smudged inside jars around the top will possibly prevent the mealybugs from crawling. 
  3. Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can be effective against mealybugs. Apply it to your plants using a spray bottle or other applicator.
  4. Using a mix of soap and water is another powerful method. Be sure to rinse your plants thoroughly after application.
  5. If a plant is heavily infested with mealybugs, it’s best to prune off or discard the affected areas or plant. This will prevent the infestation from spreading.
  6. Keep ants out of the infected area as they protect mealybugs from all-natural enemies.
  7. Preserve naturally occurring control agents by avoiding the usage of broad-spectrum insecticides for pests in that area.
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What is the fastest way to get rid of mealybugs?/What kills mealybugs instantly

There are different biological and chemical treatments people use to kill mealybugs.

But what is the fastest way to get rid of mealybugs?

Many experts believe that spot treatment with Isopropyl Alcohol is the fastest and most effective method.

A 70% or less isopropyl solution (rubbing) alcohol in water can be dabbed on mealybugs directly with a cotton swab.

This will eventually kill or remove them without much effort and time.

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Mealybugs How Do They Spread

Mealybugs are sneaky and clever!

One day, you see everything is perfectly fine, and the other day, the plant is covered with sticky wax and white cotton.

Worry not!

As with any other bugs, they can move from one place to another freely. But this doesn’t mean that you cannot do anything about that.

Most commonly, they spread when you bring in a new plant to your home. Or if you don’t provide proper care to your plants and often overfertilize them.

How do mealybugs spread from plant to plant?

For mealybugs, it’s convenient to spread from plant to plant, particularly when leaves overlap. 

Therefore, the affected plant could spread these pests to all the houseplants. You must check in new leaf folds, under leaves, and around the tips for complete signs of infestation.

Generally, this spread can be caused by:

  • Using contaminated potting soil.
  • Ants bring these pests to the houseplants – so they feed off the honeydew residue that is produced by them. Consequently, they easily spread from one plant to another.
  • Putting houseplants outside in the summer. 
  • They can even come from flowers that you buy from the grocery store!

How to Prevent Mealybugs – Best Measures to Take!

Without any shadow of a doubt, mealybugs are tough to prevent. 

However, healthy plants are less prone to be affected by this infestation and the diseases of plants.

In contrast, when plants aren’t in a position to fight against it, they emit hormones that captivate pests even more!

Have you begun to notice what looks like cotton on stems and leaves? If yes, it’s time to do an effective treatment since it’s an indicator of mealybugs on plants.

You can use top-notch strategies to prevent these infestations on your houseplants:

  • Regularly wipe foliage with the leaf shine solution that contains neem oil. This will prevent these pests on susceptible plant species.
  • Sometimes, reducing watering and feeding can also prevent mealybugs, as it hardens plants’ growth and reduces nitrogen levels.
  • For tolerable indoor plants, dropping nighttime temperatures to 60º Fahrenheit will possibly discourage bugs, which prefer tropical temperatures.
  • You can also start regular spray with blasts of water, as it can prevent them from taking hold.

After applying all these strategies, if the infestation is still there, consider destroying the plant right before mealybugs spread to other houseplants.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do ladybugs eat mealybugs?

Yes – Cryptolarmus is a native Australian ladybird beetle. Both larvae and adults are natural and super effective enemies of mealybugs. Ladybugs are attracted to the sweet, sticky substance called honeydew that mealybugs produce. This undeniably makes them a natural predator of these insects

Do ants eat mealybugs?

Ants don’t feed on mealybugs and aphids. However, ensure that you keep ants out of those mealybug-infested plants and areas as they protect mealybugs from their enemies.

Do spiders eat mealybugs?

Naturally occurring predators of these pests include spiders, brown lacewings, and larvae of midges. So yes, spiders can be useful in killing mealybugs.

Do praying Mantis eat mealybugs?

Praying Mantis will voraciously devour arthropod insects they are able to catch. And mealybugs are one of them. Apart from mealybugs, they also eat various aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, and other soft-bodied insects.

Do birds eat mealybugs?

Yes, many bird species feed on mealybugs, as they are a good source of protein. Some examples of birds that eat mealybugs include chickadees, titmice, and wrens.

Do lizards eat mealybugs?

Some species of lizards, such as geckos and anoles, are known to eat mealybugs. Mealybugs are a good source of nutrition for these reptiles and can be a natural part of their diet.

Do stink bugs eat mealybugs?

Stink bugs do not typically eat mealybugs, as their diet mainly consists of plant material. However, some species of stink bugs may accidentally consume mealybugs while feeding on plant sap. In some cases, mealybugs may be preyed upon by stink bug predators.

Do mosquito bits kill mealybugs?

Mosquito bits can efficiently kill mealybugs when used as a soil drench or in a foliar spray. They contain a bacteria that is toxic to mealybugs and other insect larvae, making them an environmentally-friendly option.


Mealybugs can be a challenging pest to control. However, there are several methods for managing their populations (both chemical and biological). 

In this detailed guide, I shed light on useful information on the natural predators of mealybugs and other natural options. Moreover, you’ll also explore why and how they affect your plants and the possible preventive measures you should take.

Follow these simple tips and techniques outlined in our guide, and you can successfully protect your plants from damage!