Hello everybody!!! I've got a bit of a situation going on here. I've got some AVs from an eBay vendor and though the plants are very healthy and budding some have mealybugs right in the middle on the stems of the newer growths. What can I spay or do that won't harm the plants or myself since the plants are in my room. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Many years ago, I had a double whammy of mealy bugs (both soil and regular) going on in my succulent collection.
This tought me three lessons:
1) Quarantine of new plants is crucial.
2) If it is soil mealy bugs - discard and disinfect because they are almost impossible to get rid of without harming or even killing the plants in the process.
3) If it is regular mealy bugs and it is not a heavy infestation - quarantine the plants IMMIDIATELY and try spraying the plants with Neem oil, which usually doesn't do any damage at all. If this doesn't work, use a Q-Tip dipped in rubbing alcohol and simply dab it onto the bugs. They usually die immediately. Repeat every day for about 2-3 weeks and usually the infestation will be gone. This will inflict minimal if any damage to the plant. If it is a heavy infestation either discard the plants (which is hard but sometimes the best) or use a mixture of 1/2-1 tsp of liquid soap per quart of water and add about 1/2-1 tsp of either rubbing alcohol or regular pure alcohol and spray the infested plants. There will most likely be damage but the plant will usually live while the mealy bugs die.
All of this does not come with any kind of guarantee but I learned the hard way that it usually is better than any other harsh chemicals.
Bottom line: Prevention is key!
P.S.: Sometimes there is a chance to save a plant by (seemingly uninfested but Neem or rubbing alcohol treated) cuttings but there again is no guarantee either...
I think that I'm going to do the alcohol. I don't know about Neem and I'm afraid that it would burn them. Now the problem is that these are miniature violets so it will be tricking dabbing without breaking leaves. Can I spay the alcohol into the plants?? Diluted of course.
Some people do use alcohol spray,but it can sometimes damage the foliage.If you do use it,rinse the plants afterword and let them get good and dry.Do NOT cover them with a dome or anything after using alcohol.It also has to be repeated in about 3 days.If it is not a massive amount of plants I would try to dab each critter with alcohol.It is hard to do with minis,because mealies like to hide under everything.(including in your trays or on your fixtures).
A little late, but in case this helps anyone, I'm going to chime in here with another recipe I got from a column called "Great Ideas" from the American Orchid Society
To an empty one gallon container add :
1 pint rubbing alcohol
1 pint Formula 409 (spray cleaner)
Fill container with water and shake.
Used as a spray, this is very effective on any number of insects. I use it on all my orchids with no problems. I have not tried this on AVs, but it might be worth a shot.
I agree with Olaf about just pitching a plant with root mealies, but have saved one or two succulents I really loved by taking them out of soil and soaking the roots in water with some dish soap. This required some persistence, and it's not clear to me if an AV would tolerate this treatment, but as a last ditch effort, who knows?
If they are foliar mealies you can usually get rid of them.Root mealies are very tough.
Jan,thanks for the recipe.I have also used Hartz Flea and Tick Shampoo and at other times soapy water with just a hint of bleach.
I am not saying for anyone to try this,but when you are about to lose a plant they often work.An African violet will tolerate root washing very well usually.At worst if you lost the roots you could try and reroot it and also put down leaves.
It's only foliar. I've not found any ones lurking around the roots and took the plants out of the pot and everything to make sure. Thank you all for the replies. I'll kee you all informed about the progress.