Table of contents:
Types of mealybugs
Mealybugs are quite common pests on indoor plants - home conditions for them just perfectly contribute to rapid reproduction - warm and dry. Worms do not like high air humidity - this is not an obstacle to their reproduction, but moist air inhibits the development of a pest colony.
Almost all types of mealybugs look the same at first glance: white lumps, similar to cotton wool on the surface of the leaves, in internodes, in cacti, the stems are entangled in a dense cocoon. Single specimens, fattened and insolent, crawl right into the light:
- Bristly mealybug Pseudococcus longispinus - damages females and larvae. The body of an adult female 3.5 mm elongated-oval, orange or pinkish, covered with a white bloom. The worm has well-developed legs, so that they can easily move from plant to plant. Females are viviparous. They usually accumulate in the form of colonies on the underside of the leaf, on branches, in the axils of the leaves and on the young tops of the shoots. The bristlyworm is a rather large insect, easily visible on the plant due to the white powdery bloom that covers its body and white waxy formations in the form of cotton balls. Bristly mealybug most often damages lemon, laurel, oleander, cycad, fern, begonias, palms, dracaena, cacti, ficuses, asparagus, clivia, fuchsia, coleus, primroses, pandanus, etc.
- Grape mealybug Pseudococcus citri - the body of a female is broadly oval, pink or yellowish, covered with a white powdery coating. The legs are well developed. Males are very rare. The hatched larvae spread throughout the plant, on shoots, on leaves along the main veins. With a strong defeat, the worms form huge colonies that suck out all the juices from the plant. The grape mealybug most often affects aralia, figs, oleander, cacti, ivy, coffee tree, gardenia, coleus, ferns, palms, amaryllis, jasmine, etc.
- The seaside mealybug Pseudococcus affinis is one of the most common species of mealybugs. The body of an adult female is oblong-oval, 3-4 mm long, 2-2.5 mm wide, grayish-pink in color, covered with a white powdery bloom. The legs are well developed. Males are much smaller, winged, fly all summer. Females lay eggs in egg sacs, which are a white, fluffy, shapeless mass of waxy cobweb secretions. Usually oviparous females hide in secluded places: cracks in the bark, in twisted leaves, in a fork in branches. The larvae are small, mobile, yellow, completely devoid of wax plaque. They quickly spread throughout the plant, are carried by the wind, humans and animals to other plants. The larvae turn into an adult insect in 1-1.5 months. Seaside mealybug most often damages:rhododendron, coleus, fuchsia, aralia, pelargonium, camellia, laurel, palm trees, cordilina, asparagus, ficus, cycad, citrus fruits, begonia, cacti, oleander, crinum, etc.
- Palmbug - the body of an adult female is wide, up to 2.5 mm long, covered with a wax shield in the form of cone-shaped cream-colored thorns. The worm parasitizes on the underside of the leaf and sucks out cell sap. Yellow spots appear on the leaves. During the period of mass reproduction, this worm can pose a serious threat to the plant. The palm bug damages many greenhouse plants: palms, bananas, aroids, orchids, avocados, and other subtropical plants.
Plants damaged by worms suffer very badly and often irreversibly: the leaves turn yellow and fall off. Shoots are stunted. Worms are taken under the bark of citrus fruits and under the scales of bulbs in bulbous ones. Sometimes the damage is so rapid that the leaves do not even have time to turn yellow - they dry out, become gray mummified. Sometimes a sooty fungus settles on the secretions of worms - black terry spots are formed, as if covered with coal dust.
At the beginning of infestation, the worms settle in the root zone, under the lower leaves, among the upper drainage in the pot, even in the upper layer of the earth. Gradually, they spread higher and higher along the plant. Sunlight does not bother them in any way.
Mealybug: how to deal with indoor plants
The first step is to wipe the plant with a sponge or cotton swab dipped in soapy water, kerosene, alcohol or vodka. To extract the worms from the axils of the leaves (and they sit very tightly, deeply climbing into the stipules), you can use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, or soften the tip of a toothpick. It is very important to select all pests by hand before spraying with pesticides. If the plant allows, then wash off the colonies of worms with a powerful pressure of hot water (45-50 degrees). And only then proceed to the treatment with drugs.
The most effective against worms is a double effect, for example, watering with aktaroy and spraying with actellik, karbofos, this is especially important for plants with leathery dense leaves. If you have children at home, then it is better not to use strong-smelling products, but to spray and water with a solution of any systemic drug: this is Aktara, Tanrek, Confidor or Apache (they have almost no smell, see the drugs). Do not look that on some insecticides it is written: "from the Colorado potato beetle" - they successfully destroy the worms.
- aktar from mealybug: dissolve 4 g of the drug in 5 liters of water for irrigation and spraying;
- mealybug tanrek: 1.5 ml for 5 liters of water for spraying or 1.5 ml for 2.5 liters of water for irrigation;
- Apaches from mealybug: 1 sachet (0.5 g) per 2.5 liters of water for spraying or 1 g per 1 water for irrigation;
- confidor from mealybug: dilute 2 ml of the drug in 5 liters of water for spraying or 2 ml in 2.5 liters for irrigation;
After 5-7 days in hot weather or after 7-10 days, if it is warm but not hot, the treatment must be repeated. A maximum of 3-4 treatments are used. Worms are very resistant pests, so the success of the cure depends on how thoroughly you clean them from the plant and evenly shed and spray the soil.
Most rootworms belong to the genus Rhizoecus. This type of worms may not be noticed on the plant before transplanting, or they can be found near the roots, in the area of the root collar of the plant. Most often, they harm cacti and succulents, but this is not necessary, they simply come from abroad from greenhouses with cacti, but they may well be found in other plants from the store.
Adult insects are about 2 - 5 mm long with an oblong or teardrop-shaped body. Segments and small bristles are clearly visible, covered with a white waxy bloom, a young colony consists of pests of different ages, as a rule, it looks like a very thick cobweb or pieces of cotton wool. Some people mistake nesting sites for salt deposits or mold. Just grab a magnifying glass and take a closer look.
Affected plants lose almost the entire root system, so they immediately stop growing, the leaves turn yellow, dry and die off. Cacti, infected with root worms, slowly turn into a mummy - a withered, dirty gray stem, translucent thorns. The plant will die if you do not take action.
As a pest prevention - when transplanting a plant, you need to carefully examine the roots. If pests are found, disinfect the pot (scald with boiling water), carefully clean the roots from the old soil, rinse the roots of the plant in an insecticide solution and plant in fresh soil. If it is not possible to transplant a flower, you need to water the ground with systemic insecticides that penetrate the vessels of the plant, and causing the death of pests - this is aktara and confidor.
It is necessary to dilute the Aktar as follows: 1 g of the drug per 10 liters of water. If you decide to transplant, immerse the root part of the plant in the solution and stand for 5-7 minutes. If you do not have an actara or confidor, you can use any insecticide, for example, actellic, decis, karbofos. If the root system of the plant is fibrous, densely braiding with an earthen lump, then you need to prepare a solution and immerse the plant in it for 20 minutes (roots). Then dip it several times in the solution along with the leaves. Leave to lie for 5-10 minutes, then rinse the plant under a warm shower.
Always sterilize the soil before planting any plants. Either in the microwave (for about 5 minutes 1 liter of soil) or in the oven on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes at 200 degrees.