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Signs of damage
- Wilting. The infested plants look withered and sickly.
- Leaf drop. The leaves go yellow and may eventually fall off.
- Honeydew. Many mealybugs excrete honeydew which leads to sooty mold. Consequently, the infested branches are covered with sticky sap or a black fungus on the leaves and stems. The black fungus (the aforementioned sooty mold) prevents the leaf from photosynthesizing.
- Stunted development. Heavily infested plants produce little new growth. Eventually, the plant may die.
- Waxy white fibers. In early summer, some pests deposit their eggs under the white covering.
How to prevent
Provide your houseplants with appropriate growing conditions. Healthy plants are immune to minor and intermediate infestations. Avoid ill-timed irrigation. Ensure that your greenery receives the nutrients and care needed, including pest control. Prune your trees and shrubs regularly to promote air circulation.
You can even replace plants that are prone to mealybug infestations. Replace the sensitive trees and shrubs with similar trees that aren’t susceptible to damage.
- Remove all the heavily infected branches, twigs, or leaves as soon as the damage occurs. Dispose of the removed parts by burning or burying them at least 3 feet deep.
- You can rub or pick the insects off in case of minor infestations by hand. Once done, wipe the branches with an alcohol-soaked piece of cloth.
- Another way to eliminate mealybugs is using organic pesticides. For instance, you can apply insecticidal soap.
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