Have you ever wondered; how do mealybugs spread from plant to plant? Mealybugs are insects that have a waxy, cotton looking substance on their bodies. They are found in warm climates and feed on the leaves of plants. Mealybugs are a common pest seen in all types of plant growing conditions. They feed on plant juices and can be very difficult to remove if left undetected.
This can cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off, killing the plant. They can also spread quickly from plant to plant, making it vital you take action as soon as you spot them. Some gardeners seem to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how mealybugs spread from plant to plant. You may be one of those sneaky getters. After all, it is important for you to know how to eliminate them because these buggers are nuisances!
This article will provide information on how mealybugs move from one plant to another and what you can do about it.
How Do Mealybugs Spread From Plant to Plant?
By crawling from plant to plant
Mealybugs are not strong crawlers, so they cannot move far on their own. They can spread from plant to plant by crawling or by being carried by certain insects and animals.
Mealybugs can also spread from one plant to another if a mealybug comes into contact with pollen and then travels to a different plant. Pollen is important for the mealybug because it attracts the female which helps them reproduce.
In some cases, mealybugs can spread by hitching a ride on people or animals. If someone touches a mealybug it could crawl onto their hand or clothing and then transfer to another plant. Mealybugs have also been known to spread through the postal system when they hitch a ride on plants that have been sent through the mail.
From infected plant
Mealy can arrive in your garden by hitching a ride on pants or shoes. They are often found in clusters beneath leaves and stems, or in protected areas such as leaf axils, sheaths, between fruit and stems, between twining stems, and between flowers and buds. Mealybugs are often found in places where there is little air movement because they are not very active creatures. Sometimes it takes a long time for infestation to become noticeable.
Wind and animals
Mealybugs can spread from plant to plant by wind and animals. If a mealybug is on your plant, it will usually lay eggs within two weeks. After two to four weeks, the eggs will hatch into larvae, which mature into adult mealybugs over the course of several weeks.
Mealybugs can go through up to eight generations in one year. They excrete honeydew as they feed on plants, which attracts ants. The ants protect the mealybugs from predators because they use the honeydew for food. The presence of ants on a houseplant is usually an indication of mealybugs or aphids present as well since aphids also secrete honeydew.
From pots and containers
Mealybugs can also hide in the soil of infested plants or in the cracks and crevices of pots and containers. They can also live on tools such as trowels. Make sure you clean these items before using them on other plants.
From people’s clothes or shoes
Mealybugs are most likely to be transferred to other plants in a garden by people who have them on their bodies and clothes. If you see mealybugs on your plant, it is important that you wash your hands and clothing after touching the infected plant.
From garden tools
Mealybugs can be a problem in greenhouses and conservatories. They are often introduced into greenhouses or conservatories on cuttings and young plants. You can also spread these through the movement of gardening material, potting compost, or carried in from outdoor plants and garden tools. In large greenhouses and conservatories, mealybugs may be carried between plants on wasps. From plant, you purchase from the nursery. They can also be brought in with new plants that have been purchased from a nursery.
How To Eliminate Mealybug From Your Home
If you have mealybugs on your indoor plant, it’s important to take quick action to eliminate them before they spread to other plants in your home.
Mealybugs are most active during the summer months, but if you have houseplants, you need to be on the lookout for them all year round. They’re very small only about 1/20-inch long — and they often hide in crevices of the plant or under leaves. To find them, wipe down your plant’s stems with a damp cloth. Check the underside of the leaves as well as around the base of the plant.
If you see mealybugs on your plant, remove them by hand using tweezers or a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can also dab each one with an insecticidal soap spray or neem oil spray that is labeled for indoor use. Spray directly onto the bug rather than spraying the plant.
Although mealybugs can be found on many houseplants, they are more common on cacti, succulents and citrus plants. If you find mealybugs on a plant that is small enough to fit in the sink or bathtub, remove it from its pot and wash the plant under running water.
Use a toothbrush or paintbrush to remove all of the mealybugs from the leaves and stems. If a rinse doesn’t control an infestation, try using an insecticidal soap. Spray it directly on the mealybugs.
If the plant is too big to move easily, spray it with insecticidal soap instead. Spray both sides of all of the leaves thoroughly, soaking each one completely. Spray until you can see suds forming on the leaves; this is your indication that there is enough soap present to kill any insects that are still alive after being sprayed directly with it.
Clip the end of the plant
You can also keep them out of your home garden by clipping the ends of your pants when you are working around plants, and keeping your pets outside if they have been exposed to mealybugs and may carry them from one location to another.
You can keep plants from becoming infested by either putting them in quarantine until you are sure they are clean, spraying them often with an insecticide, or destroying any that may be in your garden and treating with an insecticide before bringing new plants into your home or garden.