How To Get Rid of Mealybugs and Scale Insects on Plants

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Gardening expert Melinda Myers shares her sure-fire tips on how to get rid of mealybugs. Also, learn how to get rid of scale insects on plants.

How to Get Rid of Mealybugs

Mealybugs are a soft scale and, like all scale insects, can be challenging to control. Their waxy white covering protects them from most pesticides. But there are effective treatments to get rid of mealybugs. Touch each insect with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to dissolve this protective coat and kill the insect beneath. Insecticidal soap will kill immature, translucent mealybugs before they form their cottony covering. Organic lightweight horticulture oils, like Summit Year-Round Spray Oil will also kill all stages of mealybugs with several applications. Another option includes using a systemic insecticide that is applied to the soil and absorbed by the plant through the roots. When mealybugs feed on the treated plant, they ingest some of the insecticide as well. Always read and follow label directions carefully. It might not be the best choice if you have curious kids or plant-eating pets around.

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How to Get Rid of Scale Insects on Plants

Scale insects on plants are difficult to eliminate because of their hard protective shells. Immature scales are susceptible to insecticides, but it often takes several applications for adequate control. As with mealybugs, Summit Year-Round Spray Oil can kill all stages of scale insects. You can also use systemic insecticides.

Indoor lemon trees are often afflicted with several types of insect pests including scale and spider mites, so keep an eye on the trees. To get rid of scale insects on these plants, treat them with insecticidal soap and horticultural oil before bringing them indoors in early autumn. Having issues with another pesky garden bug? Learn more tips to get rid of indoor plant bugs.

Next, read up on how to save houseplants on the brink.

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Melinda Myers
Nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author, columnist and speaker.