Next in the Pest Control Guide: Mealybugs!
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.
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!
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.
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!