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.

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

How to Manage Mosquitoes in the Garden

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

Milkweed Bug

This insect is a problem only if you're trying to grow milkweed.

Stink Bugs in the Garden

Because the stink bug releases its unpleasant scent when crushed, drowning may be preferred to squashing.

Pleasing Fungus Beetle

These large beetles do their best work at night: feeding on wood-destroying fungi.

Crane Flies

These long-legged creatures are often mistaken for giant mosquitoes.

Ordering Beneficial Bugs By Mail

Send insect pests packing with mail-order beneficial bugs.

Invite Dragonflies Into Your Garden

Inviting dragonflies into your garden can provide a lot of magic and fewer mosquitoes.

Golden Tortoise Beetle

This garden curiosity can change color under stress.

Kudzu Bugs

These international stowaways are causing problems in American gardens.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

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