Poinsettias are the most popular houseplants for Christmas in the…
This insect is a major pest on greenhouse plants and houseplants but will occasionally affect plants in the landscape too. These insects are white and often fuzzy or dusty looking. They are usually found on the undersides of leaves or in the crevices between stems and leaves. They are often found in large numbers where they suck the sap from plants, reducing their vigor. They have multiple generations a year indoors and every life stage can usually be found at one time. They also produce “honeydew” or their sugary pee which can lead to black sooty mold, further weakening the plant by blocking photosynthesis.
Mealybugs are fairly hard to control since they are covered in a waxy coating and often hide in hard-to-spray spots on plants. One of the best controls is simply inspecting new houseplants and tropicals to make sure they don’t have mealybugs before purchasing them. They can also be treated with Neem Oil or Bonide’s “For All Seasons” horticultural oil but since they hide in crevices, multiple applications will be needed for control. Bonide’s “Systemic Houseplant Insect Control” can also be used to control young mealybugs.
Heavily infested plants that aren’t valuable should probably be disposed of.