Checking on my Hoya carnosa early one morning, I discovered a Mealybug Infestation! Maybe you can identify with the dread I felt in seeing those cotton fluffs on my plant! Even on the blooms!
This wasn’t my first rodeo! I had battled mealybugs previously on Portulacaria afra and successfully got rid of those. But now my Hoya? My HUGE wonderful blooming hoya?
Some of these photos are not too good but those mealybugs are so little they are hard to focus. Especially when I am trying to hold the plant and the camera.
But here is a true close up the mealybug.
Simple Methods To Stop Mealybug Infestation
Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects but have the ability to secrete a waxy white substance resembling cotton that gives them a protective coating.
In order to get rid of the mealybug, a substance needs to penetrate that protective waxy coating to kill the soft body inside.
Isopropyl Alcohol Solution – Rubbing Alcohol
This alcohol will penetrate the waxy coating and kill the mealybug. If you are in doubt about whether your infested plant can take a dose of alcohol, test a leaf by spraying and wait a few days. If it doesn’t appear to be harmed, such as turning yellow or appearing burnt, you may want to go ahead and do a full treatment.
I have diluted my Isopropyl alcohol into water on a 50-50 mixture, half water and half alcohol. However, I have sprayed full strength if I just grabbed up the spray bottle on the spur of the moment. Consider your plant and how it may react.
In my video, I am showing how I spray the Hoya plant, both sides of the leaves plus trying to get into the stems, leaf attachments, soil, blossoms and peduncles too!
Insecticidal Soap Spray
For a Mealybug Infestation, an insecticidal soap can be used to great effect. I have purchased Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap (affiliate link) and I usually “drown” the leaf that I see any insect at all.
If you would like to make your own insecticidal soap, you can mix a Real Soap such as Murphy’s Oil Soap (affiliate link) and water into a spray bottle to make it yourself. Put just a tablespoon into one quart of water and shake slightly and your are ready to treat.
Murphy’s is also good for other dusting and cleaning purposes so it is a good soap to have around the house anyway.
How Long To Cure Mealybugs?
As a sap-sucking insect, mealybugs are always going to be an issue with your plants. You must keep a watchful eye out for them each week because as soon as you see them, that it the time to begin treatment.
Mealybugs lay eggs quickly and there can be hundreds and even thousands in a few weeks. All of your houseplants can become infested.
If possible, isolate an infected plant. When the plant is too large, then try moving smaller plants away from the infected one.
Clean your watering spouts, digging spades, support sticks and strings, even your hands are best washed well after treating your plants. All it takes is ONE mealybug to be carried to another plant and in a few weeks you will have more “patients” to deal with.
Repeating treatments for several weeks, such as every Saturday for three weeks, should get the mealybug infestation under control. Each watering time, be watchful for any appearance on the new growth and stem attachments.
Zap the insect with your mix (either alcohol or soap mixture) and rub it off ( I use my fingers as you see in the video).
Did I Save My Hoya From The Mealybug Infestation?
Yes, I think I have saved her. I have only found an occasional one in several weeks, but I will keep a watchful eye on her. She has been needing a new application of Bonide Systemic Insecticide (affiliate link) for a while. My bad!
As you can see, she is so large and vines are dangling to the ground. I may go ahead this fall and transplant her into a slightly larger pot before cold weather comes. Then I can inspect the soil for mealybugs and be sure to remove all debris.
I want a climbing hoop for her now! Maybe like this one? Bamboo Trellis U-Shape for Plant Support (affiliate link). What do you think?
I just ordered the set, so I will be transplanting soon!