Mealybug Pest Control on Carnivorous Plants

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Next in the Pest Control Guide: Mealybugs!

Hey All,

You might remember my post about my experience with mealybugs and how I dealt with them a while back, but I’m going to recap on everything for anyone needing advice! Mealybugs are a type of unarmored scale, they are mobile and they will suck the life out of your plant, they can also spread disease to your plants! It is the females that do damage, you’ll see a waxy almost powdery white substance on your plant when you have mealybugs (this can be mistaken for powdery mildew), but it’s usually obvious when you have mealybugs.

Example of a really bad mealybug infestation and the substance they leave behind.
Example of a really bad mealybug infestation and the substance they leave behind.

 

One of the mealybugs that began crawling out of the crevice and up the plant due to insecticides.
One of the mealybugs that began crawling out of the crevice and up the plant due to insecticides.

First off, mealybugs are hiders; they’ll hide in the roots and in tight crevices until they have an out of control shocking population. I remember my reaction to finding them, I FLIPPED, but don’t worry, they can be exterminated!

Before seeing actual mealybugs, you may noticed signs such as deformed traps, leafs or traps that don’t mature, traps yellowing or discoloring, slowing in growth, curling of leafs, etc. Sometimes the plant shows no signs until it is really infested, either way, this will give you the means to be able to combat them successfully even after a full blown infestation like I had!mealybugs_02

As far as I can tell, mealybugs like Sarracenia the most since they have extensive roots and crevices they can hide in and lots of plant meat to eat. These methods can be applied to all genera although some genera probably never get mealys.

First off, invest in an imidacloprid based insecticide immediately. I use Bayer Advanced 701290 3-in-1 Insect Disease and Mite Control Ready-To-Use, 24-Ounce. It can be really hard to find imidacloprid based insecticides in some states but this one has worked really well for me. I find that imidacloprid is the most effective on mealybugs specifically.
Second, if it is safe to do so, unpot your plant and set it in a bowl of water for an hour or so (no longer than a day). Remove as much of the soil as possible by rinsing the roots and dispose of it in a plastic bag where the mealybugs won’t be able to spread to other plants. Placing it in water causes a lot of the mealybugs in the roots to swim away from the plant and get to air. I try to shake the roots under water to loosen the soil and run the roots under running water to get more of the mealybugs out.

After having the plant sitting in water for several hours, I spray the roots with my imidicloprid based insecticide and let it do its thing! Depending on how light or heavy the infestation is, I suggest following the insecticide guide and keeping up with spraying for 2 months.

If you are against pesticide use, you can get rid of a lot of the mealybugs by rinsing the roots of your plant then setting it in water. The mealybugs will climb up the plant and you can easily squish or rinse them off the plant. This will not completely get rid of them but its a good way to knock out a big portion of the population.

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Some mealys floating at the top of the water after I placed my plant in water.

Lastly, ISOLATE YOUR PLANT. Do not place your plant back with the other non-infected plants. Leave it isolated for at least 2 months with showing no signs of anymore pests before placing it back with the rest of your collection. Keep a close eye on your plant and give it extra love; it should be healthy and happy again in no time!

Feel free to comment with any questions or other good methods you’ve used to get rid of mealys!

 

Warning for all Pesticides: Please use pesticides with care, some can be harmful to the environment AND to you! Use them properly and as directed so that we don’t damage ourselves or the planet we love. Don’t dilute or strengthen the dose of pesticide and don’t use pesticides more often than they are recommended, this can cause for pest resistance which will make them immune to the pesticide. Always properly identify a pest before using any pesticide on it, using the wrong pesticides on specific pests can also lead to resistance. Wear gloves, a mask, goggles/glasses and any other protective gear you might have and only use the pesticides outside in well-circulated areas. If a pesticide is illegal in your area, please don’t try buying it and using it illegally, it is probably illegal for a good reason and there is always another way to treat the pests!
There are always downsides to using pesticides and even in following all the directions, pesticides can have negative effects to the environment. Please feel free to look up the negative effects of pesticides before using if you are concerned about the consequences of using them.

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