My co-worker has a peace lilly, which has little white bugs, smaller then fruit flies, very heavily infesting the entire plant. How do I get rid of these bugs?
I am thinking they are probably mealy bugs.....you can swab all the bugs off with alcohol, just dont get the alcohol in the soil.....There are sprays like neem oil and safers that can also help with infestations.....but you need to remove all those bugs by hand......even spraying it down with a showerhead will remove some of them......someone else chime in though, because I have only dealt with mealies a couple times, and my plants went straight outside to be sprayed and treated.
If the bugs fly around and tend to gather on the underside of the leaves, they're probably whiteflies, in which case my advice is to just throw the plant away. Whiteflies can be eliminated, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of time and unless the plant has extraordinary sentimental value, you can buy a replacement a lot less expensively than you could treat the plant. Whiteflies also tend to spread to other plants pretty easily.
If the bugs are mostly toward the center of the plant, low on the leaf axils, and are any two of these three: white/translucent, cottony/fuzzy, or oval, then you have mealybugs. I would recommend 1) dab or spray rubbing alcohol on all the bugs you can actually see. This will kill some of the bugs outright, and will weaken the hold the others have on the plant. 2) using a detachable showerhead, or a garden hose (if you can control the pressure on the hose well enough that you're not going to blast holes through the leaves), give the plant a good spray of water from all directions. This will physically blast off some of the rest of the bugs. 3) let the plant dry for a day or two and then hit it with an over the counter pesticide whose label specifically says that it's effective against mealybugs. Follow the label directions and everything, including the stuff about using in a well-ventilated space. This will (hopefully) poison anything that managed to escape the first two treatments.
After that, you'll have to watch the plant for a week and see if they come back. If they do, you can use rubbing alcohol again right away, but don't spray the plant with water again unless the plant actually needs to be watered. You can also repeat the insecticide, though don't apply it if you're going to be watering in the next two or three days, because you don't want to wash it off before it's finished working.
Cacti are big favorites of mealybugs, by the way, so if there are any in the area, try to keep them and the peace lily away from one another.
thanks, I will try this on monday.