Mealybugs! Nooooo!

Moosetrackz(9)February 19, 2012

Hi fellow house plant people!

My question is about my newest house plant, a hoya compacta. It was my birthday this month and I thought Id treat myself to a new plant so I went to home depot and I was so excited to see a hoya compacta! Ive been looking for one forever! So I took it home and 3 days later saw that it has mealybugs :(

I was SO sad! Mealys killed my last hoya so Im pretty scared they'll kill this one too. Ive heard that this hoya is pretty hard to rid of mealys. I got some bayer bug spray stuff for it and have sprayed it once and will spray again in 7 days. Im keeping it away from my other house plant. Is their anything else I can do? Will putting it outside help? I live in southern California so its reasonably warm right now.

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With crinkly leaved hoyas, Systemic pesticides are probably the best option.

Rubbing alcohol definitely kills mealies, and my go-to option has always been to spray infested plants with rubbing alcohol, but the problem is that with crinkly leaved plants the bugs can hide in the crinkles to avoid sprays, so that's why I would suggest going right to a systemic if you're willing to do that.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 7:09PM
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For Hoya with tons of hiding paces, Systemic or throw it out. Works very time:-)

Bayer systemic tree and shrub if you can find it.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 7:28PM
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Thanks for the fast replies! I'll try some systemic pesticide.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 7:43PM
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Moosetracks- sorry to hear this, I hope it can be fixed and your new plant will be ok.

Is there a way to "prevent" bugs (any bugs) from getting onto the plant in the first place? I've been seeing gnats around our window lately, nothing on the plants yet, but I am expecting them soon enough. All this talk about mealy bugs is scareing me some.

Is there a preventive something that can be used? or do you have to wait till the bugs are actually on the plant? I hate bugs to begin with, would much rather prevent them if it is possible.

Yes- I used someone elses thread to ask-- again. Hope nobody minds.. :)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Hello Lamora.

Sad to say there is no sure guarantee you won't get insects, especially on plants that provide multiple hiding places. That just comes with the territory.
That is why I choose not to have them kind of plants, although one can't help it and still have a soft spot for one:-)

The good news is that I do have a couple of plants like this and what I do is take preventative measures throughout the year.

A couple of things that I do is spray all my plants with a Fish Emulsion mixed with water. This has done the trick for me for a few years now and I never have any pest issues. This I try to do at least once a month.
Another I do is use 'natural' organic soap in water mixed with alcohol and water, especially on my orchids. I spray once a month no matter what on cloudy days. I refuse to let the sun hit any of these plants until the leaves are dry with both methods.

Another thing I do is make sure to use very good porous mixes which encourages very healthy growth in my plants. Pest are more inclined to attack weak plants and wet organic mixes that break down.

I am sure others will share their experiences. I just wanted to share mine:-)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 8:16PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Be sure that the systemtic pesticide you choose is LABELED FOR INDOOR USE.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 4:00AM
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Thanks so much for the info.. like I said... I hate bugs to begin with, and on my plants? If I can help it, it wont happen.

Thanks again for all the advice :)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 10:09AM
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txmom(North Texas)

Only now have I figured out that is what killed all my hoyas...never could figure out what this was, but used the alcohol on a Q-tip method and never got it under control.
Yesterday (3 years after my indoor disaster) I found mealybugs all over my crape myrtles! I have visions of losing all my garden!!!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 8:41PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

txmom, are those inside or outside plants? The myrtles?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 9:14AM
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grrr4200(z3 MI)

i just found mealy bugs on my Hindu rope hoya as well :( it's over 5 feet long and full of flowers. Since the leaves are so crinkly i took a 5 gallon bucket and filled it with water and rubbing alcohol. i then turned the plant upside down and place the vines into the water alcohol mixture. i made sure the pot did not submerge in the water but made sure the leaves and vines were completely covered. I left it sit like that for 15 minutes. Took it out and gave it a shower in the tub. No mealy bugs:) and it's still in full bloom!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 3:28AM
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What grrr has pointed out is that total and complete coverage of all leaf and stem surfaces is the key to successfully eradicating pest problems. Applying alcohol with a Q-Tip is an exercise in frustration and futility because it takes forever and you are bound to miss the translucent, nearly invisible juveniles. It is only a matter of time before they mature, reproduce and come back to haunt you.

The alcohol can be diluted with 5 parts of water with 1 part of alcohol. A squirt of liquid dish soap helps the solution spread better over all surfaces. If a plant is too big to dunk as grr did, then use this mixture to thoroughly spray the entire plant until all surfaces and crevices are dripping wet.

There is a product called Brand X that is a leaf cleaner that contains silicon that penetrates very tiny spaces. It is a very effective treatment for mealybugs and scale insects. It is non-toxic and not a pesticide.

Contact me if you need more info.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 8:32PM
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Mealy bugs are tricky ones, because they can tuck themselves in somewhere so good. I've been down the mealy road a few times back in my early plant days, but haven't had an insect pest now for about 5 years or so. The best advice I can give is to keep your plants indoors ALL year, which is when my bug problems disappeared. I do put out my succulents, but on an isolated table on the deck, and when brought in overnight, they stay isolated as well. Come fall, I do a thorough examination before setting them into their winter home.

As for what I have done for mealy bugs, well, I gave any infected plants a VERY thorough hosedown with Malathion. I'll probably catch hell for it, because I know a lot of people think Malathion comes from the devil, but the bottom line is, IT WORKS. Now, this of course MUST be done outside, and MUST be left to dry completely before ever coming back inside. For the record, I have tried all the "safer" methods, like Q-tips and alcohol, soapy water, "safe" organic insecticides, but found that they all fail to do the job.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 10:08PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I strongly suggest that we all refrain from using Malathion. There are other products that WORK...why use something that is so utterly hazardous to human life?

Here is a little list of the people who must not come into contact with Malathion, including the fumes: those who are elderly, unhealthy, have a compromised immune system, are on medications that stress the liver (which is almost anything), the very young, the unborn, the egg and the sperm. I don't think I left anybody out, lol. Dogs, cats, and birds can be affected if exposed to the fumes, too.

No one and I mean NO one should knowingly use a chemical classified as an organophosphate. No one should ever use a chemical that is a cholinesterase inhibitor....and one that has accumulative action.

If the mealies are so impossible to get rid of then throw the darned plant out. It just hurts me to see that people are still using these dangerous products.

On hoya, alcohol can be used full strength...cutting it by half or to a 1:3 ratio should still be plenty strong enough to use as a mist. Horticultural oils are also effective against mealies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Malathion toxicity

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 11:35PM
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There are plenty of links to toxic things. For example, there are "studies" that show that plastic, anti-perspirant, metals, fast food, caffeine, saturated fat, carpet, and many other things, are toxic. Pretty much everything in our daily lives is toxic to someone out there. Just about ALL pesticides are toxic, but if you follow the stinkin directions, you'll be fine. Search the term "Malathion" and you can read how it is the most commonly used pesticide in America. If it's so hazardous to human life, why do they still sell it? Oh yeah, because when used as directed, it's NOT. Gasoline is hazardous to human life, but, if you use some common sense, you'll be fine. Heck, it doesn't even come with directions either.

As for just "throwing out the darned plant", that's up to the individual, but for me, my plants are more important then someone else's fear of a product. Your opinion is valued, just as everyone's is, but demanding that NO one use a product because of your opinion is a bit excessive. I am someone, as are many others, and will continue to use Malathion, as directed of course.


P.S. Follow the link to read about nail polish, perfume, air fresheners, lipstick, and canned food, both organic and non, and how they are all toxic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Toxic everyday stuff

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 12:39PM
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i just got a hoya compacta too, and im pretty sure it has mealybugs, but im not positive so i tried to take the best picture possible... if anyone can help me identify these it would be great...

Source: Uploaded by user via Amber on Pinterest

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 6:23PM
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Yep those look like mealys. I would get yourself some systemic pesticide as soon as possible and kill all the ones you can find the old fashion way with alcohol.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 11:15PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Looks like you have spider mites, too. You might not wish to bring systemic pesticides into a household with young children. How large is your plant?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 11:44PM
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how can you tell i have spider mites? i just got it yesterday and its two plants in one pot, one rope is about 6 inches long, the other is probably 8 inches long... i killed the ones i could see with a qtip and alcohol, then i sprayed it with alcohol, i tried my best to try and squirt it in between all the leaves too, untill i saw it running out the other end of the leaf... im gonna be staying away from pestacides because i have two small children, a cat and a dog, and my pets love to chew on anything they can get their hands on... ive got this hanging and i think thats how its gonna stay so its out of reach but i dont want to risk it with pestacides...

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 9:06AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Judging solely from the image, the leaves look decidedly 'speckled', called stippling. Of course, that could simply be the picture....OR it could be my eyes!

Spider mites, themselves, are so small that they are practically invisible to the naked eye. If you have an inexpensive magnifying glass, you can see them running around, usually on the underside of the foliage, but who knows where they might be on your species of plant. Sometimes, there is the presence of tiny webbing.

The alcohol misting will also help control the mites, if they are present. Other less toxic means would be to use an insecticidal soap upon occasion or a horticultural oil.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 4:26PM
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