Alternative control methods

Sanitation

Starting with clean plant material will help prevent mealybug infestations. Removing heavily infested plants or spot treating them with chemicals will reduce the spread of mealybugs to adjacent plants. Remove soil accumulations beneath plant pots where root mealybugs are established to eliminate this potential source of future infestations.

Chemical control

Spot treat female mealybugs when egg masses are present and natural enemies are not, especially if growing tips are infested or the plant is sensitive to damage. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil should be used only if no predators or adult parasites are present because the treatments will kill exposed natural enemies.

Use insect growth regulators (IGRs) when parasitized mealybugs or predators are present. IGRs are registered for use on ornamentals to control mealybugs, scales, and other insects. They do not affect natural enemies but may damage some plants. Azadirachtin (several brands), an insect growth regulator, may be used. It is a commercial formulation of neem seed extract.

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