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Mealy Bugs?

Posted by MagGnome Minneapolis MN (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 12, 12 at 11:19

I found a couple of mealy bugs on my hoya this morning! I have no idea how long they've been there, but they are pretty large. I apologize for the blurriness of this photo, but there is one of them:

Photobucket

What should I do about this? I removed the two that I found. Is that enough, or do I need to spray the plant? I'd rather not use some kind of insecticide, but at the same time I don't want these bugs eating my plant. Help!

-Jacob


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mealy Bugs?

I found two more, for a total of four. They were all quite large and have been removed. One of them had a little cocoon-like structure around itself. Hopefully there aren't any more, although I will be checking every day for the next week at least.

-Jacob


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

What I do when I see a mealy bug is I get out my q-tip and alcohol and do just as you did and examine the whole plant carefully, dabbing at the mealies with alcohol to kill them. You have to check carefully because they hide not just on the plant but in butterfly clips and under the lip of pots, etc.

Then you have to treat for the mealies and eggs that you might not have seen. I take a liter spray bottle and mix up a solution of neem oil, dish soap, and a few tablespoons of alcohol and use this to mist the plant(s) every 2-3 days for 3 days. And then you just keep an eye out.

Keep in mind that you can also have an infestation of root mealies, so if a plant seems to be ailing for no particular reason, checking its roots is the first thing you should do. For this possibility among others.


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

greedyghost, you are such a great help today, thanks! I hadn't thought to kill them with q-tips and alcohol. Squeezing them with tweezers did the trick, but it also made quite a mess. Those little guys are quite juicy...it was kind of gross. :/

I'll keep that spray in mind if I start seeing more of them. I did a pretty thorough inspecting of the plant, although there are lots of hiding areas for those bugs. Hopefully they won't return. Thankfully my hoya is fairly isolated from the rest of my plants, so I'm not too worried about the mealies spreading to anything else.

-Jacob


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Jacob...spraying the plant, as suggested by G.G., is a great idea...you must spray the entire plant; leaves, under the leaves, the vines. This is often difficult with hoyas with many "hiding places"...this also won't kill the ones on the roots, if there are any there. I would highly recommend a single watering with BATS...it'll kill every mealybug, the eggs, larvae and those on the roots. Two tablespoons per gallon of water. It's especially important with these hoyas with nooks and crannies. I water mine every 6 months. Also, mealybugs spread from one room to another simply by touching the plant and then touching other plants...be careful to wash your hands thoroughly before touching other plants. BTW, mealybugs are nothing to play around with..they can wipe out an entire collection within weeks..and a bottle of BATS, available at any big box store, works well and is inexpensive...just make sure the plant is not accessable to kids or pets...water thoroughly and not again for 10 days...it takes this long for the solution to reach all of the parts of the plants..watering would dilute the efficacy. Otherwise, do as G.G. suggested, and repeat often, as the spray doesn't kill the eggs...it only suffocates the bugs. Also, when spraying, keep the plant out of sun/intense light...it'll cause leaf-burning...BATS is far safer. Hope this helps, the choice is yours. Fondly, Patrick


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

LOL Your tale of squished mealies cracked me up. The nice thing about mealies is that at the very least they look soft and white and innocent. And the nice thing about alcohol is upon application mealies kind of just shrivel into tiny brown mummies. It is true, as Patrick says, that spraying is a solution that requires diligence, thoroughness, and a greater risk of incomplete eradication. I think because of this, its efficacy really depends on the person and the size of their collection.

Great points about the washing hands and sunlight. Thanks for adding that, Patrick.

Joni also has an alternative to BATS that she feels carries less risk to beneficial insect populations like our friendly pollinators. She talks about it here. I have not used it yet myself, but I have received a lot of plants from her since she started using it and they are all as pest-free as before.


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Patrick & GG, thanks for the advice! I don't want the mealies spreading to my other plants or killing my hoya, so I'm going to go ahead and order a bottle of BATS. Hopefully that will do the trick.

GG, I read the link that you provided. While I am very concerned about the negative effects of insecticides and I'm always hesitant to use them, in this case I think it will be okay. All of my plants are inside, so no pollinators are present. It's definitely something I will keep in mind down the road when I (hopefully) have a greenhouse!

I'll admit that I'm a little hesitant to apply anything to my plants. Last summer I had a lovely pomegranate bonsai that was infested with aphids. Brushing them off worked for a few days, but then they were back with a vengeance. I took the advice of some websites I found and sprayed the whole plant down with a mix of soap and water. The next day it was dead! I was so disappointed, but that's how you learn, right? I doubt BATS will have the same result, but if my hoya croaks you can be sure you'll be hearing about it. ;)

-Jacob


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

I did a little research on Amazon, and I found these two products. Recommendations/suggestions?

http://www.amazon.com/Bayer-701510A-12-Month-Protect-Concentrate-32-Ounce/dp/B0012YZVJS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1329087493&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/Bayer-701710A-Insect-Protection-Fertilizer/dp/B00192CNG2/ref=pd_sim_ol_2


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

The first link is the one people use.


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Jacob,

I can't imagine any plant that would be killed by soap & water. I have a feeling it was the bugs, or maybe the plant sitting in direct sun (?) after the soap bath that might have done it in...

Your Hoya looks like a compacta, and if this is so, it is impossible to see into every nook and crannie. With this species, it is especially important to saturate every surface to see that you get all the little buggers. I use a much stronger concentration of rubbing alcohol - a cup or more in a quart spray bottle, a few drops of dishsoap, and fill with water. I soak the plant, let it dry, hang it in a shady spot for a couple days, then put it back in its usual spot. Repeat every 7 days for 2 or 3 rounds. After that, I'm careful to inspect at every watering. If I see them again, then I go to the "big guns" - BATS.

Most importantly, isolate from your other plants and watch your other plants closely. They spread like wildfire and once you have them, you never really get rid of them completely.

Denise in Omaha


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

GG - Thanks, I'll go ahead and order that one then.

Denise - I appreciate your advice. I was really shocked that the pomegranate died like that. I think it went into shock from all of the watering and the stress that the bugs were putting on it. I've had one other bonsai die quickly like that as well. I gave up on bonsais after that, as it's just too much hassle. Perhaps one day I will give them another go.


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Jacob,

If your bonsai was one that came from one of the big box stores, don't feel like it was your fault. Those never seem to pan out well for me, either. I think they come from nurseries that "push" them, then they glue the soil into the pot. They look great for awhile, then die a quick death. If you want to create a great, super-hardy bonsai, make one out of one of the Jade family. Here's my favorite I've worked on for several years...
Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com
They're very easy to "shape" as they grow up!

Denise in Omaha


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

That's a very nice Jade! I used to have a Jade plant years and years ago. I should get one again sometime.

-Jacob


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Update - I used the BATS 6 days ago, and I'm not sure that it's working. I investigated the plant this morning and found at least eight more mealy bugs as well as what appeared to be some sort of egg sac. I removed them all with my tweezers. Hopefully I got them all, but I'm afraid that they will return. How long is the BATS supposed to take? I'm probably just being impatient, but I'm afraid that I didn't use enough or did something else wrong.

-Jacob


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Jacob...it takes BATS a full 10 days to reach all parts of the plant. I would be concerned, however, as you shouldn't be seeing more mealybugs. Did you follow the directions of 2 tablespoons per gallon? I would re-treat the plant if it was mine. Treat the plant and do not water for a full ten days..make sure you use the correct amount of BATS. Also, keep in mind, that sometimes, in my experience, a plant needs to be treated several times to eradicate all of those pests. When you treated your plant, did the water run straight out? If so, you'll need to let the pot sit in the BATS solution for a good half an hour, then drain thoroughly. Best wishes, Patrick


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Patrick,

Thank you for your response.

These bugs were mostly closer to the beginning of the vines*, so I may have missed them previously. I wasn't sure how much BATS to use, as a gallon of water would have been way too much for the pot this hoya is in. I used somewhere in the neighborhood of two cups of water and a teaspoon of the BATS, and even then some of the water ran out of the bottom and overflowed into a tray that I placed there to catch it. I poured this water back on to the plant after about thirty minutes. I have no idea if I used enough or not, given that the mixing directions were for a much larger amount of water.

-Jacob

*Is vines the correct term in regard to hoyas?


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

You're right, Jacob..vines is the correct term. I realize that it's not easy to figure out the amount of BATS to use when you don't want to mix a full gallon...what I do is mix a half gallon...hence 1 tablespoon of BATS...I water the plant throughly...and let the pot sit in the solution for a half an hour if the water runs through the soil too quickly. What's left over I use to water other plants...it will not harm the other plants..and there's fertilizer in BATS, so it helps. Just guessing, but I think that the measurement you used sounds pretty correct...but, please keep in mind that some infestations require a 2nd treatment...I don't know why, but I've had to treat some plants as many as 3 times to eradicate the mealybugs. I think I hate mealybugs more than anything on earth...but, Thank God for BATS!! Fondly, Patrick


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Hi, i tell you my experience :

after fighting for a long time with alchool and liquid soap, i disperately said...... STOP!

I bought a chemical product by Bayer, they are tablets which you can put directly in the soil.

It destroy mealy bugs and survives for 3 months.

Sometimes is necessary to use drastic methods!

Thank you.


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Update - I picked off another 5-6 mealy bugs today as well as what I think is an egg sac. I then gave the plant a second treatment with BATS. I hope it does the trick this time!

-Jacob


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The Battle!

How goes the battle of the Mealy bugs, Jacob?
Were you victorious?


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Laura,

I gave the plant a regular watering yesterday. I found one mealy bug that I removed, although I didn't inspect the plant too thoroughly. I'm hoping that they are gone, but I'm going to give it another thorough checking soon.

-Jacob


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Jacob,I have found that if you find even one little mealy then there are not gone and you should do another round of treatment to be safe.

Cindy


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Someone told me that the dog flea/tick collar works if you enclose it with the hoya in a bag. I haven't tried it, but I'm going to since I can't get BATS here.


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Unfortunately I found several more mealies (7-8) on the plant today. Why won't they go away? I just gave the plant a regular watering a couple of days ago, so I need to wait before I can apply BATS again. I feel as if this stuff isn't even working, or I'm using it incorrectly. :/

-Jacob


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Jacob...if you're using the correct amount...2 tablespoons per gallon of tepid water, it should be working after two treatments. Be sure that after treating with BATS, that you don't water the plant for a full 10 days. I contacted Bayer's, and their representative stated that some pests are immune to BATS and that it was perfectly okay to increase the dosage by 50%. Try using the equivalent of 3 tablespoons per gallon...wait ten days before watering again...but, be sure to allow the soil to dry out before another attempt at treating with BATS! I've had to treat a couple of hoyas 3 times to rid them of mealybugs, but this is the exception, not the usual situation. Don't give up...you'll eventually win!! Fondly, Patrick


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

I had the same problem with BATS, which is why I stopped using it (in shocked annoyance), so I am very happy to hear your very articulate explanation of common pitfalls, Patrick. I was definitely thinking that I had acquired some super-mealies from a highly treated population.

Jacob, I know it can hair-tearingly frustrating, but I promise you, if you stay on top of it, the war will eventually be over. Pests are extremely resilient, and if you think I'm kidding you should check out the way ear mites can hibernate in furniture fibers just waiting for a new cat to appear on the premises. Mealies are a bit like that too, but in a controlled situation like you have, without too many plants to watch over, you could beat this problem with a mere q-tip and alcohol, just by keeping your eyes open every time you water for the next few months.

Just be happy that, as far as we know, mealies cannot actually crawl into your brain and alter your personality. Although you know what they'd make us do if they could... buy more Hoyas! !!


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Ah, G.G....I couldn't survive without BATS!! I treat every plant in my home with the stuff..and need to do another treatment shortly. What's annoying is that BATS does the job on 99% of the plants, but there's always one or two plants that mealybugs reappear on..very frustrating. With 600 houseplants, I don't have the time or energy to deal with wiping/spraying with alcohol, therefore, I find BATS to be a godsend. G.G. what type of lighting do you use...or do you get those gorgeous colours from sunlight? Jacob, don't give up...try BATS again, and also try using an "alcohol swab" to wipe any visible mealies...if you spray/wipe with alcohol, keep the plant out of bright light for a few days. Also, if possible, you can try soaking the vines in a bowl of tepid water with regular Ivory dish soap and some alcohol..let dry and keep out of bright light..bright light may cause "leaf scorching". Fondly, Patrick


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Patrick, my lighting setup is a mess of 'whatever was handy' (mostly re-purposed freshwater plant aquarium fixtures) and I'm in the process of replacing it. So, in other words, nothing special. The most impressive plants (aka surigaoensis and IML 1391) get super red in any conditions, even natural light. In this case, surigaoensis is about 6" under normal hardware store daylight florescents. IML 1391 and the other top shelf plants are under Hydrofarm 200W compact florescents. Yeah, so don't take advice from me. These plants are just looking gorgeous despite the slow interaction between my learning curve and my financial investments. :P

Totally hear you about the lots of plants = BATS. The advice I gave Jacob really reflected my feelings about him having a limited number of specimens to deal with. You are in a completely situation, and I'm getting there myself.


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Hello again everyone! Sorry about my lack of replies recently. I've been very busy with school.

Today was watering day, and I didn't see any mealies! I gave my hoya and my other plants a regular watering, with no BATS. Hopefully they are gone! I will continue checking just to make sure they aren't merely hiding from me. If I find some again I will try a stronger dosage of BATS as Patrick recommended.

You guys are great!

-Jacob


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Congratulations on your Mealy Free Day (MFD)! You get a gold star. >:P


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

I found one mealybug on one of my hoyas a few nights ago... I removed it promptly. Praying it's the only one. Now I'll use spray if I need to..lol


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

With this mild spring and opening the windows I see that I have mealies on my H. compacta, too. I've applied alcohol with a Q-tip these last two days, but know, for me, this is a losing battle. I plan on an attach with BATS. Since, BATS can be applied as a soil drench or a foliar spray, do you think I could immerse the whole plant, including the pot, in the solution? If so, how long should I let it soak. As an alternative, I might apply the solution several times with a turkey baster to get it into all the nooks and cranies.
TIA
Gail


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Gail,

I believe it's only a soil drench! I would not use it as a spray!
Water your plant with some kind of saucer under a pot, let it seat in for 30 min until all soil is saturated, then drain it and do not water for 10 days. You may need to do it again in a month or so if not all bugs are gone.


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Thanks Aggie,
I have used it as a spray with no ill effects. However, it is a systemic so I wonder if spraying would help anyway, unless it can get through the leaves. I always reapply anything I'm using to combat insects seven to ten days afterward to get the hatching young. I mention this because, if I waited a month, there could be a large population again and I'd be starting all over.
Gail


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

I found that my polynuera was infested over the weekend. Was spaying it down with soapy water and turned it over to get a better look at the underside of the plant and found mealies in every nook and cranny on the underside of the pot. That could be where some of the re-infestations may be coming from.


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RE: Mealy Bugs?

Hi...I have found that if you get mealy bugs they are everywhere...
I had them on my hoya hindu rope....and I could not get rid of them so I took everything apart and they were on the underside of plant stand, in the rope hanger the plant was in, under the rim of the pot...and the pot had a tray and they were in that....I read some where that mealy bugs don't stay on the plant they go off the plant...and that is why its hard to get rid of them, you treat the plant and then the bugs off the plant come back on, and on and on...so I bought some, 'Bug Max', bug spray and I sprayed the whole plant and washed every thing and waited a week and sprayed the plant again, waited a week and sprayed again....I waited a month and there was no bugs and so I rinsed the plant down with plain water..
and cross my fingers and knock on wood they are gone finally.....linda


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