Mealybugs are scale-like insects with a white, waxy protective covering that makes badly infested plants look to be covered in cotton. These insects are tiny – from 1/32 to 1/8 inch long – but are very hard to control because of the wax-like threads that cover their bodies.
Mealybugs harm plants by sucking sap, causing yellowing, stunted growth, galls and dieback. They also excrete sugary honeydew that attracts Wasps, Ants and Bees and can serve as a medium on which Sooty Mold (link) can grow. Immature Mealybugs are very active, moving all around a plant searching for an optimal feeding spot. As they mature, they become less active, moving around very little.
Where Mealybugs are Found Geographically
Mealybugs are found throughout the United States and are a common problem on houseplants.
Related or Similar Pests
Mealy Bugs. Tea Scale. Magnolia Scale. Woolly Adelgid. Cottony Cushion Scale. Woolly Apple Aphid.
- Clean houseplants plants with cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol.
- A strong spray of water can reduce mealybug numbers.