Succulent Plant Site | Succulent Plant Pests | Root MealyBug

Root MealyBug Control and Treatment

Common Name: Mealybug, Long Tailed Mealy, Root Mealybug
Latin Name: Ferrisia virgata, Phenacoccus solani, Planococcus citri, Pseudoccous longispinus
Size: Between 1/8th and 1/5th of an inche or between 2mm and 6mm.
Colour: Mealybugs bodies can be white to an off pink colour, they usually excrete a pinkish fluid when squashed.
Transfer: Mealy Bugs find their way to other plants by hitching rides with humans or animals. Juvenile mealybugs can crawl from an infected plant to another plant.

Root Mealybug Description:

Root mealybug and mealybug are the same insects, I thought it would be a good to do a seperate section on them as they do do a lot of harm in succulent plant collections. Root mealy bugs are aphids that attack the roots.

Root mealybug attack the roots just below the level of the soil, especially where the root and the stem meet. These insects are small (< 6mm in legth) and they are covered in a wooly substance. The bodies are oval shaped and can be white to an off pink in colour and their body fluid is usually pinkish in colour when squashed. They have waxy filaments around the body with 2-4 long filaments at the rear of the body.

Root mealybug lay their eggs in sacs of interwoven filaments that resemble cotton wool. Mealybug also excretes large quantities of honeydew onto the plant that in turn attracts ants and sooty mold. Keep ants under control as they may distribute the pests to other plants.

Signs of Root Mealybug Infestation:

Plants that are infested with root mealybug will often turn yellow, cause plants to wilt, leaves will drop and the plant will show be stunted.

Damage Done by Root Mealybug:

Root mealybug are sap feeders and it is this that causes the problem. Plants infested with root mealy bug often die from rot caused by the pest. The open wounds caused by root mealybug allows fungal and other pests to damage the plant further.

Plants like Asclepiads are known to be easily infested with root mealybug and by the time you have noticed the infestation it is too late. You will need to remove all the rotten bits and root any suriving pieces.

Control of Root Mealybug:

You can place mothballs in the soil to help keep root mealybug at bay.

Use one of the following pesticides;

  • Bifenthrin
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Cyfluthrin
  • Piperonyl butoxide
  • Cypermethrin
  • Dichlorvos
  • Fenitrothion
  • Mercapthion (not on ferns)
  • Phenothrin
  • Tetramethrin

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