When it comes to succulents, mealybugs are one of the most common pests. They make themselves known by the white fuzz that they leave on the leaves, stems, or spines. When the bugs are fully grown, they actually look like small crabs. They may appear friendly at first, and you may only see a few, but once they have identified your succulent as a great place to live, they can seriously harm your plant. If a female decides to lay eggs in your succulent, she can lay up to 600 of them. When those eggs hatch, they latch onto your succulent and suck it dry. The damage can encourage mold growth on your plants, and the bugs themselves, in high enough concentration, will kill your plant.
How to Control
Use a cotton swab or the paintbrush to dab the mealybugs with rubbing alcohol. This will kill them without doing too much damage to your plants. Remove the dead bugs to keep things clean.
There are insect-killing soaps that you can use to wash your plants. It will kill mealybugs quickly by dissolving their shells.
If you need to use a pesticide, try some natural pesticide. They do not linger in the environment for a long time, and they are designed to kill most of the pests that like to attack your succulents.
If your plants are outdoors and your pest situation gets superbad, there are good bugs that you can release to eat the bad bugs.
If you see the damage that mealybugs cause but are not seeing the bugs themselves, the bugs may exist in your roots. If this is the case, you should remove the plants from their pot and treat the roots with one of the solutions above before repotting. Some of your leaves will die off, but usually, the whole plant will recover.
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus