Whether you have an indoor potted plant or a lawn, it can get mealybugs without being in your knowledge.

These mealybugs suck out life from plants, and eventually, they die from the lack of nutrition.

To prevent the infestation of these pesky plant killers, you need to learn how to get rid of mealybugs.

Therefore, in this blog, we will discuss the best mealybugs treatment for your lawn.

Without further ado, let’s dive into it.

What Do MealyBugs Look Like?

Lots of mealybugs between leaves

If you see a white, waxy material in your long, you should start making up your mind for a mealybugs treatment.

Mealybugs usually congregate in colonies, depositing their eggs and carrying on feeding. 

That means if you notice white clusters that resemble fluffy white cotton balls, then they are mealybugs, as you can see in the image above. 

They may vary in size from small groupings to enormous masses. 

Signs of Mealybugs Infestation

An infographic on the signs of mealybugs infestation

Before you learn how to get rid of mealybugs, you should know the clear indicators.

Adhesive Honeydew

Mealybugs also exude a sticky honeydew that indicates an infestation. The honeydew released by mealybugs can draw ants, resulting in an alliance that is extremely adverse for your plants. It can also encourage the growth of black sooty mold

After there is an alliance between these two, it will become difficult for the mealybugs treatment to work.

Withering Plants

Your plants can have wilting leaves and grow slowly, or you will start noticing strange growth patterns. 

For example, you may notice some strange flower arrangements or twist into distorted shapes. 

Mealybugs feed on plant sap, depriving the plant of vital nutrients, so infested plants exhibit stunted development. If you don’t apply a mealybugs treatment, it can cause leaves to prematurely wilt or turn yellow.

You need to act quickly with the mealybugs treatment if you don’t want the infestation to ruin your beautiful space.

How Do Mealybugs Increase?

An infographic on mealybugs lifecycle

Mealybugs can proliferate quickly and spread to adjacent plants with the assistance of ants and other insects. 

They go through three stages in their life cycle: the egg, nymph, and adult. Mealybugs are prolific breeders; females can deposit anywhere from 300 to 600 eggs during their lifetime.

The stages of a mealybug’s life include:

Eggs: On plants, mealybug females lay their eggs. The white, tiny eggs are difficult to spot.

Nymph: Mealybug nymphs emerge from their eggs. Nymphs resemble little adult mealybugs and have no wings. Nymphs grow swiftly and feed on the sap of plants.

Adults: Mealybugs are oval in shape. Their white, waxy coating shields them from predators and the environment. Adults breed and feed on plant sap.

Male mealybugs: They are sterile in certain species. Male sterile organisms do not reproduce or eat. They exist only to mate with females.

Depending on the type of mealybug, the exact duration of its life cycle varies. 

Mealybug life cycles can be finished in at least two weeks, depending on the species and surroundings. Because of their fast reproduction rate, infestations may spread swiftly.

Speaking of favorable environments, mealybugs prefer warm, humid environments. 

They hide in the nooks where leaves meet stems on houseplants when they are indoors. These pests feed on garden plants outside, particularly in the shade.

As mealybugs survive on plant sap, greenhouses are their favourite destination. The regulated atmosphere keeps certain conditions favourable to plant growth.

Heavy infestations of mealybugs can be more challenging to eradicate than minor ones.

Types of Mealybugs Infestation

Mealybug infestations classified as light occur when a few mealybugs and their white, cottony egg masses are visible on the plant. 

The earlier you take actions following how to get rid of mealybugs, the less probable it is that the infestation will become severe enough to damage the plant. 

If it’s a houseplant, keep it apart from other houseplants while applying mealybug treatment to stop the infestation from worsening.

An abundance of mealybugs and their masses of eggs indicate a heavy infestation. 

If the plant is inside, a moderate to severe mealybug infestation may necessitate its removal. 

Ways to Avoid Mealybugs

An infographic on the top ways to avoid mealybugs

Even when you apply mealybugs treatment, the infestation may return.

Strong, robust plants are less likely to become infested than undersized, weakened, and stressed ones. 

Hence, ensure that your plants are healthy overall to reduce the likelihood that you’ll attract these pests.

Mealybugs can infect even robust plants. They may arrive with new plants since greenhouses make the ideal home for their reproduction. 

Before adding any new plants to your collection, thoroughly inspect them.

There are numerous different tactics that can guard against mealybug infestations on your plants:

  • You can prevent them by reducing feeding and watering because it lowers nitrogen levels and toughens a plant’s growth.
  • Routinely wiping foliage with a leaf shine solution containing neem oil may help stave off mealybug infestations for vulnerable plant species.
  • Regularly spraying plants with strong bursts of water.
  • Mealybugs prefer temperatures closer to the tropics. Hence, lowering the temperature to 60 degrees Fahrenheit will deter them from feeding on indoor plants.
  • Sometimes, after two or three weekly applications of insecticide for mealybugs treatment, the infestation is out of control. In such cases, consider pulling the plant to stop the mealybugs from spreading to other plants in your house.

Opting for the Best Mealybugs Treatment

A circular diagram on the mealybugs treatment options

There are several methods that work as mealybugs treatment. 

Some effective ways that you will solve your query about how to get rid of mealybugs are:

1. Using Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a cleaning essential that you probably already have on hand and is one simple technique that works as mealybugs treatment. 

For this mealybugs treatment, you need to immerse a cotton ball with 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

Then, wipe it on the mealybugs on the plant.

Don’t forget to test it on one leaf before applying the alcohol to the whole plant to ensure it doesn’t burn.

2. Applying Neem Oil 

This is another common mealybugs treatment.

Vegetable oil neem oil works well to get rid of mealybugs. 

To use neem oil, dilute 2 to 4 tablespoons with 1 gallon of water and shift the mixture to a spray bottle.

Similar to the last mealybugs treatment, test a patch of the plant to make sure the solution won’t harm it before applying the entire solution.

After you’re certain about the safety of your plants, spray the entire plant, including underneath the leaves, with the neem oil solution. 

After a week or two, repeat these steps if the infestation continues.

Read More: How to Get Rid of Grubs in Lawn Naturally in Ontario

3. Manage the Outbreak With Ladybugs

Ants are the mealybugs’ main ally, whereas black ladybugs are their enemies. 

Predators must be kept at bay for mealybugs to continue providing the ants with the sugary honeydew that the mealybugs exude. 

Make your landscape inviting to ant-eating predators to combat ants organically. 

These predators you can use for mealybugs treatment include:

Fungi that are entomopathogenic grow on the dead bodies of insects.

If you notice unusually high ant populations on plants, you should also use ant control methods. 

Getting rid of the mealybugs will be harder if you don’t reduce the number of ants first.

4. Get Insecticidal Soap

If you want to know how to get rid of mealybugs, this is an efficient method of eliminating a range of pests associated with houseplants. 

For this mealybugs treatment, you need to wet the insecticidal soap to dilute it. 

Depending on the extent of the infestation, start by adding one teaspoon of soap at a time and add accordingly. 

Transfer the mixture into a misting bottle and mist the leaves directly.

Don’t miss the undersides of the leaves, which are often hiding places for mealybugs.

5. Prepare a DIY Insect Repellent

To create a repellent for mealybugs treatment, you can use the ingredients available in your kitchen.

Firstly, in a food processor or blender, pulse one garlic bulb, a small onion, and one teaspoon of cayenne pepper into a paste to prepare a batch of DIY garden pesticide. 

After mixing with one quart of water, soak for one hour.

Pour one tablespoon of liquid dish soap after straining the cheesecloth and blend thoroughly.

Apply the solution to the parts of the plant where you notice the infestation.

If you find more mealybugs after a few days, repeat as necessary. 

Keep the mixture in the refrigerator for it to last up to a week.

Related Blog: How To Prevent Mulch Termites

6. Remove or Clean the Infected Plant

Depending on the species, a plant with a severe mealybug infestation may be salvaged with careful uprooting and cleaning. 

For example, succulents can be removed from their soil, properly cleaned under running water, and then given time to dry completely before being planted again.

In certain cases, sacrificing the parent plant is the best way to treat mealybugs. 

After removing it, look for mealybugs and their egg sacs on pots, utensils, and other items that might have come into touch with the plant. 

If any appear to be infested, clean them up or dispose of them. 

7. Sprinkle Dish Soap

When cleaning the foliage of larger plants, use a soft cloth or brush bathed in soapy water.

A moderate dish soap and water solution works great for mealybugs treatment.

This technique works especially well on light mealybugs infestation.

Remember, dish soaps are detergents, and if used excessively or in excess of their recommended concentration, they may be harmful to plants.

8. Apply Chemicals Pesticides

As a last resort, you can use chemical pesticides for mealybugs treatment.

Broad-spectrum insecticides not only kill every insect without distinction.

Some of the insects that are good for the plants also get killed. They also contain ingredients that may be dangerous to people. 

Remember that these pesticides may be less effective due to the insects’ wax-provided protection.

Choose a pesticide that has been specially designed and approved to combat mealybugs. 

If you intend to use it indoors on houseplants, be sure it is also safe to use there. Read the label’s instructions about the application schedule to avoid mistakes.

Learn More: Pest Control Organic Methods: Protect Your Lawn & Family

Why Are Mealybugs Stubborn?

At times, you need to toss out the plants even after applying the mealybugs treatments.

Here are the reasons why it is an arduous task to remove mealybugs:

Protective Wax Coating: Their bodies shield them from natural predators and a variety of insecticides. Additionally, this layer may make it difficult for homemade mealybugs treatment to penetrate.

Hard-to-Reach Places: They may infest parts of plants that are difficult to reach, like leaf axils, beneath leaves, and long stems. Consequently, their existence goes unnoticed for long. 

High Reproduction Rate: Mealybug females multiply hundreds of eggs in a protective sac. 

Pesticide Resistance: Mealybugs are susceptible to developing a resistance to some chemical pesticides over time, which reduces the efficacy of specific mealybug treatments.

Plant Stress: Infested plants are more prone to damage and less resistant to infection since they are under stress from other factors, such as drought, overwatering, etc.

Mobility: Certain mealybug species can transmit infestations by migrating from plant to plant. 

Survival Techniques: Mealybugs can re-infest plants even after you believe they have been eliminated because they can survive in plant detritus or on different hosts.


When can you put the treated plant back from isolation?

You need to keep it away for a minimum of four to six weeks. Apply the alcohol treatment and wait at least two weeks for mealybug activity before reintroducing your plant to the rest of your lawn. 

How to prevent mealybugs from returning?

Use a systemic insecticide that has a longer half-life than a contact insecticide. 

How do you get rid of mealybugs present in the soil?

Neem oil-infused soil soaks may work well against subterranean pests like mealybugs and roots.

The Bottom Line

Depending on the infestation, you can use the suitable mealybugs treatment described above.

To prevent them from spreading out of control, keep an eye on the hidden parts of the plants.

From our prevention and identification method, you are all set to determine the best technique.

Still, if you think you can’t manage it at home, Don’t worry! Falcons Landscaping is at your service.

They give the best advice for keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.