How to treat mealybugs on indoor plants

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Mealybugs are some of the easier to identify pests. They have soft-bodies, oval shape and white cottony appearance. The eggs laid by adults though are encased in a waxy cover. Damage caused by mealybugs can include leaf yellowing, distorted growth, and black mould.

How to treat mealybugs on indoor plants

Here are my tips for treating mealybugs.

How to get rid of mealybugs

  • For very light infestation you can use a cotton bud dipped in 70% Isopropyl alcohol to individually kill mealybugs. The insects will dissolve the instance the alcohol touches them.
  • For medium infestation you can make a mix to spray your plants by adding equal parts 70% alcohol and water. Another great and organic treatment that can be applied both as spray and soil drench is Neem oil and/or horticultural soap. Follow the instruction on the packaging for frequency and quantity.
  • For really heavy infestations: remove the affected plant gently of it pot and submerge in a bucket full of water for 20-30 minutes (or until you see the mealybugs starting to float at the surface). Take it out and clean the plant further with a hose or shower head (remove as much soil from the roots as possible). Plant in a new pot.
  • For heavy infestations you can also use Insecticidal Sprays.

How to prevent mealybugs:

  • Using Neem oil sprays as a preventive measure.
  • Check on your plants regularly, including under the leaves.
  • Check any new plants and place them in 'quarantine' for few weeks before introducing them to your collection
  • Wipe leaves regularly

Photo by Alexlutor - Picture I took from my garden Previously published:, CC BY-SA 3.0,