Is you garden an endless battle scene against mealy bugs every single summer?
Do you hate seeing those unsightly mealy bugs that look like they are ready to invade your succulents? Then you need to start learning these strategies and adapting these secret weapons that I am about to share with you.
Just thinking about mealy bugs, aphids and pretty much every bug that are ready to attack my succulents makes my skin crawl. That’s why I really need to share these tips with you. So, let’s dive right in.
Key Point Number 1: The best time to deal with mealy bugs and its cousins is while the days are cooler.
Mealy bugs love it dry and warm, that’s why we want to start working on prevention while we are still in the cooler months and they are not as prolific yet. So, prevention is key. There is also something about the combination of cooler days and my favorite oil mixture that you need to know and I’ll discuss that in a bit, too. If you have four seasons, best time to start working on prevention is in the Spring. Also in this article, I’ll be sharing with you a regular household solution that works for full blown infestations.
Key Point Number 2: Groom your succulents.
Remove dry leaves. Since, mealy bugs love it dry, leaves that are drying at the base of succulents is one of their favorite nesting grounds. Removing dry leaves will deprive them of their favorite hang out. In the wild, succulents do not have a problem with this, but since they are in pots and altered growing conditions in our gardens, they need our help with grooming, so pick up and pluck off those dry leaves.
But wait! What if you already have a full blown infestation?! Is there hope?
Key Point Number 3: Apply a mixture of mineral oil while the temperatures are still below the 90’s.
My personal favorite is All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil. I love this concentrate ‘cause it is super effective and helps fight other bugs, too. Why do we need to carry out the preventives on cooler days? It is because even if it says “all seasons” and “use year round” on the label, if you would use this on hotter days, such as in the middle of summer when it can go up to the 90’s, your succulents could fry and suffer leaf drop.
And why bother with dealing with mealy bugs, aphids and scales in the first place? The biggest reason is that Mealy bugs and Aphids can disfigure even the most perfect looking succulents out there. in fact, one way to determine whether there are mealy bugs hiding in those tight spaces is when newer, younger leaves are misshapen and are looking pulled or twisted out of its proper shape. So, if you want your succulents to be perfect, make sure that you know what you are dealing with.
Mealy bugs are easy to identify. They have this very dry, white cottony powdery coating that protects them from water and moisture. So, if you think that blasting them with water would work, I guarantee you that it won’t. Ants are also a good indicator that your succulents have mealy bugs. Mealy bugs and ants have this certain symbiotic relationship where ants protect mealy bugs and they get honeydew from mealy bugs in return. So, where there are mealy bugs, there would be ants. To see an actual footage of mealy bugs moving on a succulent and how ants are present, tap link here: “6 Ways to Deal with Mealy Bugs & Aphids on Succulents (Secret Weapons & Strategies)“.
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Key Point Number 4: For full blown infestation, you can use this regular household solution, which is 70% Isopropyl alcohol to penetrate through those white cottony, powdery coating.
Blasting them off with water will not work, in case you wanted to try it. In fact, it is what the white cottony, powdery coating is for, but alcohol can surely penetrate that barrier. For both preventive and treatment though, I would still go for All Seasons Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil.
Is there another way to do this? Maybe a more organic way?
Key Point Number 5: A very interesting way to fight them is with live lady bugs.
They feed on mealy bugs and aphids. Lady Bugs are friends, because they are a natural predator to mealy bugs.
So, if you want an army of lady bugs to get the job done, you can actually purchase live ones online. Tap on image for further information.
Key Point Number 6: The best preventive measure to fight mealy bugs is to keep your succulents heathy.
Unhealthy, weak and sickly succulents are more prone to mealy bugs, aphids and other bugs. By making sure that they are properly watered and fed, you are increasing your succulents’ ability to ward off unwanted predators. If you want to learn more about watering and plant food, you can always click the link here: “How and When to Water Succulents (Tips to Keep Them Alive)“
Just like humans, healthy succulents have a way to ward off infestation. If you have an arrangement or a whole pot of assorted succulents, you would notice that not all succulents would show infestation, unless all of them are weak.
So, keep them healthy and enjoy a garden without the harmful bugs. Happy Planting and remember that the easiest and budget-friendly way to grow your collection is through cuttings. Feel free to browse around this website for more tips and other helpful information.