Mealybugs are one of the most common pests that infect succulents. They make themselves known by the white fuzz they leave on the leaves, stems, or spines. When the bugs are fully grown, they look like tiny crabs. Mealybugs 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 succulents, she can lay up to 600. 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 a paintbrush to dab the mealybugs with rubbing alcohol. This will kill them without doing too much damage to your plants. Then, 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 pesticides. They do not linger in the environment for a long time and are designed to kill most 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 you do not see the bugs themselves, they may exist in the roots. If this is the case, you should remove plants from their pot and treat the roots with one of the solutions above before repotting. Some leaves will die off, but the whole plant will usually recover.
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus