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Rubbing alcohol on a q-tip will work also. Even if you decide to use an insecticide, I'd try to clean as much of it off as possible before you spray anything, I think you'll get things under control faster that way.
or you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble and treat it once with a product containing Imidocloprid, such as Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub. One or two drench treatments and the plant is good for a long time. Mealybugs love Hoyas, and can live in the roots as well as in tiny crevices on (or off) the plant.
The product Imidicloprid is used widely on interior plants under various names (Marathon, Merit, Mallet, Dominion ...), but you should avoid spraying it indoors. Another product that works extremely well is their (Bayer's) 3-in-1 product, but not the one with fertilizer - it's the one that contains Imidicloprid, Tebuconazole (a systemic fungicide) and Tau-Fluvalinate (a miticide). Move your plants outdoors to spray and as always, follow directions closely. Don't use on edibles.
Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub is suitable for use in the house AS A DRENCH. Their imidocloprid spray is called Bayer Rose and Flower Insect Spray, and it is also suitable, approved, and labeled for houseplant use. The Bayer Insect, Mite, and Disease is NOT approved for household use, and for good reason: the fungicide is very toxic (and unneeded in the case we're discussing). The same goes for their rose systemic, Bayer Rose and Flower Care 3 in 1 - don't use it on houseplants - it has the same fungicide.
The Bayer products can be very confusing because the bottles look very similar and some of the names are very ambiguous. I have used the exact names.
Bayer Advanced 3-in-1 with Imidicloprid/ Tebuconazole/ Tau-Fluvalinate:
Where can Bayer Advanced™ 3-In-1 Insect, Disease & Mite Control Ready-To-Use be used? This product can be applied to Roses, Flowers, Houseplants [emphasis added], Ground Covers, Vines, Ornamentals, Shrubs and Trees.
Move indoor houseplants outside before treating.
For use on non-edible plants only.
Their Rose/flower spray:
Controls: Leaf Spot, Powdery Mildew
To prevent diseases: Apply at least 3 times per year, 7 to 14 days apart.
To treat existing disease: Apply every 7 to 14 days for a total of three applications, beginning at the first sign of disease.
Move indoor houseplants outside before treating.
I'm not selling or pushing the product, though it works very well. Whether to use it or not is a personal decision, but it's certainly not a misapplication or illegal to use on houseplants when applied according to directions.
vestia, i totally agree that the Bayer products can be very confusing as they all basically look alike and are advertised the same.
i have an unopened bottle (i bought it as a last resort against weevils but haven't used it yet) of the Bayer Advanced All-In-One Rose & Flower Care (3 Systemic Products in 1) . this product is a drench only; not to be used for spraying.
it states on the inside label: "do NOT treat plants grown in pots, flower boxes or other containers"
it's SO important to read every label of any kind of pesticide or fungicide you purchase. don't rely on past experience with another similar product.
The container I have, purchased only a few days ago clearly gives recommended mixtures for spray solutions and lists it as appropriate for houseplants.
We KNOW that state extension services are very conservative in their suggestions when it comes to chemicals, yet we find imidicloprid and tebuconazole listed repeatedly and widely as remedial for a variety of insect and fungal afflictions in a large number of authoritative sources.
From ND State University Cooperative Extension:
"Compounds such as chlorothalonil (Fungonil),
tebuconazole (for example, Bayer 3-in-1 Insect, Disease
and Mite Control), neem oil (Triact 70), thiophanate
methyl (Cleary’s 3336), potassium bicarbonate
(GreenCure) and fungicidal soap are available for use
as fungicides on indoor houseplants."
If the 3-in-1 product was only to be used as a drench, it wouldn't be packaged in 2 containers designed for spraying (spritzer and hose end attachment), houseplants would be excluded from the list of plants appropriate for it to be used on, and the miticide (TF) would be ineffective because it's not systemic in its action.
I don't care what folks choose to use, but I DO care that they get accurate information so they can make informed decisions.
To make it extra clear - you should not spray indoors. Move your plants outdoors into shade, spray, and move back indoors if you wish when the spray has dried.
Al, i wasn't disagreeing with you. i was stating that the Bayer products all look very similar. the one you are referring to is the spray. the one i am referring to is the drench. the one you refer to says, "ready to use spray". mine does not, yet they are basically the same product if one doesn't look closely at the label.
We're not agreed at all. ALL the ingredients in Bayer Advanced 3-in-1 Insect/Disease/Mite control ARE approved for use on houseplants (including the fungicide, tebuconazole), as is the product itself (please review the info I left - particularly the links to the information on Bayer's website). I'm not confused by the packaging, and the product is very effective at what it's designed to do, but you should avoid spraying it indoors.
1) Move the plant outdoors into shade
2) Spray the plant, cover all leaf surfaces completely if mites are a problem (you can be a bit more relaxed about coverage if mites are not an issue because the remaining 2 ingredients are systemic.)
3) Allow the plant to dry after spraying.
4) Move it back indoors if you prefer, or give it a summer vacation outdoors after considering its light tolerance and properly acclimating it to the light level where you intend to site it.
When I do speak, I try hard to make absolutely certain I'm on solid ground and understand what I'm talking about, so I can support my contentions if need arises, as in this case. If I disagree, it's not because I enjoy a disagreement; it's because I feel obligated to ensure that whenever I'm part of a discussion, people get accurate information - something that can be supported by something other than anecdote or what seems like a reasonable guess. I also try to stick to the facts and avoid ad hominem comment. If I've made an error, please point to it.
TiS - I do agree wholeheartedly that we should always read labels carefully and follow directions religiously. I also agree with IPM practices where you determine your level of tolerance for pests/diseases and react accordingly, choosing the least noxious method of control that will bring the problem within your tolerance level.
That said, Imidicloprid was suggested prior to my mentioning Bayer 3-in-1. I think the 3-in-1 product is an excellent tool to have in your arsenal because it covers 3 bases, where products with Imidicloprid alone cover only 1; additionally, there's only 1 product to buy. As a final thought, spraying the entire plant produces a much faster and more effective result compared to a soil drench, especially on woody plants.
I actually treated it to a regular 'bath' for probably a month with "Safer: Insect Killing Soap". It is MUCH MUCH better and as you can see it is sprouting new growth. I still see the bugs every once in a while so I spray them quickly! I did not repot the plant, so I think I will do that soon so that it gets new dirt!