Flippin Mealies!!!!

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Last winter my 4 Adeniums, Unicarina and Pelargonium had the windowsill in the master bath to themselves. One Adenium of rot by the new year, with the other three doing well along with the other 2 resting out the winter. By March the 3 Adenium and the Pelargonium all had mealy bugs, which I treated with alcohol sprays. The spray was effective, but each plant got new mealies quickly. I know that mealies start in the soil, so I was keen to kill all when I found them and let the shallow soil get soaked too, but each week they came back with vengeance.

After being out in the sun for a week, I found myself wondering if I had a case of root mealies, so I opened one up. Yep. There they were, not all that bad a collection, but still a mass of them, and tons of eggs in the soil. I cleaned the roots of soil, and sprayed alcohol liberally through what was still there. I unpotted all the others with less mealies than the first, trashed all the soil, and let the roots dry.

Its going to be time to pot them all up this weekend. I am planning to try them on a low peat soil, mostly rock, mineral soil, pumice and sand.

The Pelargonium had no mealies in the soil, and the Unicarina was untouched. I suspect it is pretty nasty tasting.

Thoughts insights and commentary welcomed.


Plumiedelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

Dog flea spray on the soil to kill new hatchlings.

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Really? I have heard of nothing else than isopropyl alcohol and water in a spray bottle.

Plumiedelphia, PA(Zone 7a)

its weak and harmless to us (mostly) and kills them well
After id bathe my baby id dump the water into my pots
It served me well enough.
Ive moved to a systemic now
I buried my baby 3 weeks ago :(
16.5 years she was my shadow and love of my life (besides wife of course)
Life is very different without her.

Thumbnail by Malestrom
Jacksonville, FL(Zone 9a)

Sorry you lost your baby! I know how hard that must be.

Darla

Decatur, GA

I understand Malestrom. It was hard saying goodbye to my Buttons after 17years. (in 2007) She was my best pal.
Helen

Decatur, GA

Ah, but we digress. Forgive me.

Thumbnail by helenchild
Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

I am sorry to hear about your baby. I have 2 beagles at home that are our buddies, and while its kind of tough to deal with their excited barking, they are the Buddies of our lives.

Peace,

Rob

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 5a)

Check under the rim of the pot on your plants (if plastic) to see if there are any egg masses. Also check the general area around the plants.

When I bought my house and had to move, I had to take apart a plant stand that I had made and I found lots and lots of mealy egg masses in the joints where the wood butted up against itself. It's no wonder I could never get rid of the mealies! This is why mealies are so hard to get rid of. Mealies lay eggs away from the plant to re-infest the plant in case something happens to the mealies living on the plant.

After I had been in my house for a while, I noticed cotton on one of the cords to some blinds - it was covered with egg masses. I removed the blinds, threw the old blinds away, and bought new blinds for the window.

Now I use BATS (Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub) on all of my plants and I don't have a mealy problem any longer. If you do find mealies, just be sure to check the pot and surrounding area to remove any egg masses you may see (they are just little masses of cotton.)
Good luck,
Mike

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

I stir a little diatomaceous earth in water once a year and water my plants with it, or as soon as I see any mealies or pest. I have sprayed water/diatomaceous earth on aphids, and they don't come back for a long time. I routinely do this for plants that I bring in for the winter so I don't have any worries about 'critters' coming in.

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Mealies are odd little critters. Apparently they do really well in dry conditions, which is why we see them on our succulents and not on other plants as often. I have used systemic insecticides in the past on them, but I am wanting to be less reliant on pesticides now.

I typically spray rubbing alcohol on them mixed 50/50 with tap water. Really kills off the buggers on the exposed surfaces of the plant. But I am wanting to kill the soil based mealies, too. I wonder about soaking the soil in an alcohol solution for a couple of hours or just a water soak. Up rooting my plants to clean the roots of mealies really set them back during this summers growth. My plants are just starting to show new growth, and its been a month. Any ideas?

I am going to overwinter my Adeniums and Pelargoniums with more water, as they seem to really suffer with complete dry conditions. And I think that is when the mealies infest the plants.

Any ideas?

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 5a)

You could use a homemade insecticidal soap made from Ivory or Dove dish soap and water and then use it as a soil drench. Just plain water won't do anything to root mealies since they live in the soil just fine in nature and get rained on all the time, I would guess.

I use a 50/50 mix of 70% rubbing alcohol and water and then add a couple of teaspoons of Ivory dish soap to 32 oz of the mixture. I put this mixture in a plant mister and it kills on contact, but it is a contact poison and you MUST hit the bug to kill the bug. It has no residual effects.

I would be careful of using alcohol on the roots of your plants (or any plants, for that matter). If you thought that uprooting and cleaning the roots slowed your plants down, the burn from alcohol on their roots would be really devastating! A small amount of alcohol added to the soil drench mixture probably wouldn't hurt, but I wouldn't use too much.

The thing with mealies is that they lay their eggs away from where the plants are and if you don't find and eliminate these "egg stashes" as well as the mealies and eggs on the plant, you will never get the mealies under control.
Just my .02
Good luck,
Mike

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Just the sort of info I was looking for. Thanks.

Decatur, GA

I tried for years to get the mealie bugs off my mother's hoya plants. I tried insecticidal soaps, washing my hand, Bayer's stuff... they always came back quickly. Then recently on one of the threads here at DG I read about using Palmolive dish soap. I mixed, as directed, about 2 tablespoons of PM dish soap per gallon of water in a bucket. I submerged the plant ,waiting for all the bubbles to stop, for about 2-4 minutes, drained it and the rinsed it with plain water. All as directed. I wish I could remember what member I got this plan from, and give them their dues!! Anywhooo.. the plant is back at my mothers mealie free now for a month or so and growing like it never has. I am thrilled to have finally cleaned up the Hoyas.
I recommend giving this method a try.
Good luck,
Helen

Mountlake Terrace, WA(Zone 8a)

Now, that sounds great. I may go run out and hit my poor growers with this, to see if maybe I missed a few.

Winnipeg, MB(Zone 4a)

Thanks for the tip with the Palmolive dish soap, Helen! How is your Mom's hoyas doing?

Arlington, TX

Very timely as I have begun to notice mealies myself! I have been spraying with home made soap water mixes and alcohol to no avail. I did not know they crawled around and laid the lxcnv;alofthj;alpowrf eggs elsewhere. I am going to do the systemic but wonder if it can hurt small plants? For BATS, what is the recommended dosage for potted plants? I have so many plants in one area I am not sure how to procede...Guess just treating each with the systemic and then moving them outside to their summer homes after I disinfect their pots! I also have some orchids (in SH), how would you treat those?
C

Winnipeg, MB(Zone 4a)

C did you try the Palmolive dish soap?

Arlington, TX

No and I haven't drenched the soil with anything either. I thought about putting the soapy water onto the soil but was afraid it would harm my plants. If the BATS lasts for up to a year I think I am going to go that route. I almost never apply any pesticides and usually either find an organic solution or toss the plants that seem to give me the most trouble. I have many small cactus and other plants all in one area and some clearly show mealy infestation. Today I unpotted a cactus and washed it in the sink then sprayed it with soap and water. I am feeling sort of desperate at this point.
C

Winnipeg, MB(Zone 4a)

I would try Helen's method with the palmolive. It's only 2 tablespoons per gallon of water. She said she dunk the whole plant in it until the bubbles stopped and it worked for her.

Decatur, GA

My Mom's Hoya is fine. Bug free since it got the treatment several years ago. And as I said before I struggled with that plant for ages trying to get rid of the mealies. I still recommend the palmolive treatment.
Helen

Arlington, TX

Bought the bats but am waiting till I can go outside to apply. 2 questions?
1. Has anyone tried this on adeniums or mesembs?
2. Will being in a tiny container make a difference?
C

I also tried the palmolive soak treatment on one of my cold hardy cactus babies but its too early to see if it worked.

Yardley, PA

In the fall I started putting 1 tsp. of Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Control in a gallon of water and used it thru the winter. Not one bug in my 90 plants. First year for it. Very pleased.
Has Merit in it which works very well.

Arlington, TX

I am hesitant due to its ingredients but I can deal with it since its only potted plants. Glad to hear it worked on the adeniums too Sally, I was afraid it might damag them. All of mine need repotting and some trimming so I am going to give them the treatment prior to the repot and placement outside for the summer.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Sally, was that the Bayer Advanced systemic insecticide with imidacloprid (aka Merit)? Did you treat your plants multiple times? It's supposed to work after one application. Maybe plants in S/H need a different treatment regimen? I'm confused.

Yardley, PA

One treatment was probably enough but I wasn't sure. I added 1 tsp to the water once a month. No harm to any of the plants. Even the lithops. I have never gone a winter without mealies or some type of pest. Great stuff. Yes, it is the Bayer Advanced systemic insecticide with imidacloprid. Most of my adeniums stayed fully leafed this year. Probably because they didn't get any insects for a change.

Arlington, TX

I wonder if I bought the right stuff, I think mine is for trees and shrubs. Also, its a pretty powerful mix so I am not sure I would want to be exposed to it with every watering.
C

Yardley, PA

Mine is also for trees and shrubs. The Merit is the key ingredient.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Quoting:
its a pretty powerful mix so I am not sure I would want to be exposed to it with every watering.

Please note SallyO said only one teaspoon per gallon monthly. That is not a very strong dose.

I try to use this twice a year but for sure when I move plants in in the fall. I normally use BATS ~ 1 Tablespoon to a gallon when watering. Faeden suggested using it when the soil mixture is already moist for the most effective application. That way it does not just run through or have to moisten the soil. It will be absorbed more thoroughly.

I think I will try the monthly (teaspoon) application in winter. Thanks SallyO!

Arlington, TX

I don't want to be exposed to those chemicals on a regular basis if I can help it. Paranoid maybe but I try to limit my exposure.

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