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The mealybug is a soft-bodied, oval shaped insect. It is covered with a powdery wax-like white coating. They are slow movers, and many of them have body projections that cause them to have the appearance of many legs. They are found in moist, warm climates. They are especially bad for citrus crops.
The mealybug diet consists of plants, more specifically, the juices of plants. They can attack any part of the plant. They have a needle-like piercing mouth part which they use to pierce the plant and suck out its juices. It can be an indoor plant or almost any outdoor plant that can be at risk for this insect.
The mealybug also excretes a sticky sweet substance called honeydew, which attracts ants. Any plant that is host to mealybugs will turn yellow and wilt. If the infestation is not eliminated, the plant may eventually die.
A method of controlling mealybugs is to quarantine purchased plants for about two weeks, even though they appear to be free of mealybugs. Plants with a light infestation can have the infested leaves cut and destroyed, or an alcohol-soaked cotton swab may be used to treat the insects. Just be careful that you don’t kill the plant in the process. Another method is to douse the infested plant under running water. Or, you can wash the plant in soapy water. Heavier infestations may require the plant itself to be totally destroyed.
Female mealybugs live for a few months, but the male dies as soon as the female is fertilized.