You may think I was referring to possums. Oh no. Something much smaller.
Mealy bugs are just the cutest looking, innocent and fluffy looking white little things.
They are often found in protected spots on indoors plants, in the hidden parts of your palm fronds and on the isolated areas of shrubs, hiding from birds and other parasites.
This insect is closely related to scale insects, but instead of a waxy layer, produces a protective fluffy layer that looks like cotton wool. Remember last ezine I had info on scales on a fruit tree? You can re-read that article here.
Mealy bugs, like all bugs, suck. In a way, they are like the mini vampires of the plant world. They suck sweet plant sap from leaves and tender twigs and branches. Sucking the sap means that the plant is weakened by this sucking. Other diseases may also enter through the plant damage caused by the mealy bugs.
The females are prolific mothers, laying up to 100 eggs on your plants at each ‘laying’. The males exist only to fertilise the females and exist on love alone and may never eat a sappy meal at all.
The picture shows mealy bugs on a chilli plant. While there are many sorts of mealy bugs, they do look pretty much the same.
So, how to control them?