Ficus with major Mealy Bug infestation

soundgarden(z8/ New Orleans, La)August 14, 2008

My friend has a large hibiscus tree with a major mealy bug infestation. They are on the top and underside of every leaf and branch on the tree. She has been spraying with horticulture oils, soap and water and diluted alcohol. She finds plenty of dead bugs on the floor afterwards, but they still seem to be reproducing like crazy.

Is there anything else she can do to erradicate the bugs, or does it sound like the problem is too severe and she should get rid of it to save her other plants? I was thinking that, for a last ditch effort, she can spray a mixture of 50/50 veggie oil and rubbing alcohol and see what happens. I've read in a few places that windex with ammonia works, but she's scared to try this.

What do you think she should do?

Thanks, Annie

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'd suggest that she stop diluting the alcohol and mist it on full strength. She should at least give that a try.

I don't think that trying to mix alcohol with vegetable oil would work

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 12:44PM
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soundgarden, mealy bugs infest also the surroundings- planters, walls and the like. Such areas also should be cleaned. As for the plant itself, she might remove the worst-infested parts. This will leave her a smaller plant to treat and will expose more of the pest to treatment. It sounds like a huge infestation and will require persistent work to bring it under control. Mealy bugs will migrate to the other plants so she should isolate the hibiscus if possible.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 6:47AM
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Mealy bugs are close relatives of Aphids and can be treated the same, spray with a sharp stream of water to knock them off the plant, repeating as necessary. There is no need to use Rubbing Alcohol (that can be harmful to plants) or any kind of oil. Since most all pests go after plants that are not as healthy as they should be check the soil these plants are growing in to be sure it is good and healthy and can grow a strong and healthy plant that will better withstand an insect invasion.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 8:53AM
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