Mealybugs are found in warmer climate; inside greenhouses, gardens, and indoor plants. According to Planet Natural, mealybugs are described as “wingless insects that often appear as white cottony masses on the leaves, stems and fruit of plants.” They feed on the sap of plants by inserting long sucking mouthparts into the tissue of the plant. When a mealybug infestation is minimal it is often difficult to know they are present as they hide in between stems and under leaves. However, when a larger infestation occurs mealybugs can cause leaf yellowing and curling as the plant weakens. They can also cause fruits, vegetables, and flower buds to prematurely drop off. According to planetnatural.com feeding is usually accompanied by honeydew, which makes the plant sticky and encourages the growth of sooty molds and fungus. Mealybugs are common greenhouse pests that affect ornamental plants, vegetables and fruit.
Houseplants.about.com states that the visible mealybugs are actually the females. They are small (about one-tenth of an inch) insects with fringes around their bodies. Male Mealybugs are tiny winged insects that are rarely seen on plants. Female Mealybugs hide their eggs in fluffy white excretions they produce. Eggs hatch in about 10 days, producing crawlers or nymphs. The nymphs relocate to another part of the plant and spend another 4 to 8 weeks developing into the adult form. Weak, underpotted, and stressed plants are more highly susceptible to infestation. If a light infestation is found, houseplants.about.com suggests washing them away with a hose, which can dislodge them, using insecticidal soaps, neem oil, or kitchen insect spray. A heavy infestation however may require professional attention. Using an experienced pest control technician from Accurate Termite and Pest Control is highly recommended, as they will know how to treat the mealybugs without damaging the plant or garden.