Mealybugs

Tips for getting rid of these common houseplant pests.
whatswrong_mealybug_infestation

whatswrong_mealybug_infestation

Leaves affected by mealybugs will appear deformed, yellow or brown and stunted in growth.

The mealybug is one of the most common pests of houseplants. A 1/4-inch scale-like bug that's covered with a white flour-like material, the mealybug uses its piercing mouthparts to suck plant juices. The bugs feed in large groups; the first sign of an infestation is what appears to be a cottony mass on the undersides of leaves. If left to their own devices, mealybugs can kill a plant.

Remove the bugs with a cloth or wet paper towel, so you can be sure that you're getting rid of them, not simply moving them to a new feeding place. An insecticidal soap can also be applied; spray the undersides of leaves, the soil surface, and the area around and beneath the plants. Insecticidal soaps are non-toxic to people and pets, but they disintegrate the bugs' "skin," causing them to dry out and die.

The best solution, though, is prevention. Carefully inspect plants before you buy them and bring them home. Keep an eye out for egg masses and crawlers. Also, avoid excessive feeding; mealybugs thrive on juicy, over-fed plant tissue.

Next Up

Buzz Off: Make These Natural Herbal Insect Repellent Bundles

Try this all-natural technique to keep mosquitoes from attending your next outdoor get together.

Red Velvet Ant

The red velvet ant, actually a wasp, is an external parasite of ground-nesting bees.

Protecting Yourself From Bites and Stings

The hidden hazards—yellow jackets, spiders, ticks and more—of gardening.

Ordering Beneficial Bugs By Mail

Send insect pests packing with mail-order beneficial bugs.

Welcome the Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle to Your Garden

This member of the ground-beetle family is considered a beneficial insect in the garden.

Kudzu Bugs

These international stowaways are causing problems in American gardens.

How to Manage Mosquitoes in the Garden

Use basic strategies as well as new approaches for controlling mosquitoes in your outdoor spaces.

Fun Facts About Garden Insects

Those tiny creatures inhabiting your yard have fascinating lives of their own.

Cool Weather and Indoor Insects

Find out how to prevent infestation during the off season.

Golden Tortoise Beetle

This garden curiosity can change color under stress.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.