Mealybugs are small,white,squishy soft insects that stick to plant stems and suck the life out of them. Apart from being extremely unsightly, mealybugs are also very rigid and spread quickly on a plant. Timely cure is very important as they can cover a plant within days and kill it, if ignored.
We are going to discuss a few ways to get rid of mealybugs, the most popular of them is to use Neem oil which is the most effective way to kill & control mealybugs.
In a gardener’s language, mealybug is an icky, irritating, annoying little creature that stubbornly refuses to die or go away and manages to shoot up the B.P. of every gardener and kills the joy of summer gardening. If i could, personally, figure out where their tiny necks are, i’d wring the life out of them!
Which plants are easily affected by mealybugs? They arrive with the summers and perch themselves on Hibiscus, Plumeria, Portulaca, Zinnia, Sunflowers, tomatoes, lady’s fingers and peppers among others.
They usually affect the fresh growth, underside of leaves and top tips of a plant and hence are easy to treat before they spread down and take over the plant.
GET RID OF MEALYBUGS ON HIBISCUS, TOMATOES, PEPPERS AND OTHER PLANTS
STEP 1: Aim a jet of water from a hose onto the bugs while holding the stem in place with one hand. Target all fresh growth, tips and underside of leaves. If the plant is in a container, tilt the pot onto the ground to get more access and coverage.
Remove as many bugs as you can, with a sharp spray of water. SEE VIDEO HERE
STEP 2: To kill mealybugs , prepare a NEEM OIL SPRAY to spray, as follows:
- Measure half a tsp. of neem oil.
- Add a squirt of liquid soap. Use natural preferably, like soap-nut liquid, specially for edible plants.
- Pour it into a spray bottle(approx half ltr.) and fill the bottle with water.
- Spray this solution targeting the areas affected by mealy bugs first and then covering the whole plant.
HOW FREQUENTLY SHOULD YOU APPLY NEEM OIL TO GET RID OF MEALYBUGS
If you have removed most of the bugs with water spray, then application twice a week works fine. Neem oil is strong, hence should not be used everyday.
PRECAUTIONS FOR USING NEEM OIL ON PLANTS
- The MOST IMPORTANT point to note is that neem spray should only be done after sunset, because sunshine+neem spray is a sure shot formula to burn the plants. Also, do not increase quantity of neem oil or soap as they are both very strong.
- Avoid spraying on young plants and seedlings or make it highly diluted before spraying.
- Cover your nose and mouth or keep some distance from the spray.
If you follow this regularly, you can get rid of mealybugs in about a week or so. You can skip removing the bugs with water jet, if you wish, but it is highly recommended to speed up the process.
HOW TO PREVENT OR CONTROL MEALY BUGS
While it may not be possible to control the infestation 100%, a few measures help control the mealy bugs to a large extent.
- Mix NEEM CAKE/POWDER to the soil mix. It is available in packets at approx Rs.30/kg. Add about a handful to the potting soil to control mealy bugs.
- Add NEEM LEAVES/POWDER to compost. This results in healthy compost making plants disease resistant. If you have a neem plant, occasionaly add fresh neem leaves to your compost bin/pile.
- Dilute some neem oil with water and brush onto the stems as well as bottom of the plant to prevent mealy bugs from sticking on.
- Improve air-circulation around plants and avoid watering after sunset. Humidity breeds mealy bugs.
While there are other chemical ways to deal with mealy bugs, i find this one the most effective and easiest to execute. Do try it and let me know if it worked for you.
Neem is a magical plant available in the form of powdered leaves, neem cake and oil for uses in the garden. It is available in small bottles from shops stocking agricultural products, pesticides, ayurvedic medicines and of-course, online at FLIPKART, AMAZON, SNAPDEAL etc.
If you want to get rid of garden spiders, then use this DIY SPRAY FOR SPIDERS & OTHER PESTS.
TILL THEN, CYA
HAPPY GARDENING 🙂
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