Articles on: Pest Control

Mealy bugs. white insects on the back of the leaves. What are they?

Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied insects that commonly infest fruit trees and other plants. They are often found in clusters, resembling white or grayish cottony masses. Mealybugs feed on the sap of plants, causing damage by extracting nutrients and weakening the tree. They can also excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which promotes the growth of sooty mold.

To get rid of mealybugs in fruit trees, here are some methods you can try:

Manual Removal: Inspect your fruit trees regularly and manually remove any visible mealybugs. You can use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to dab and remove them from the affected areas.

Natural Predators: Encourage the presence of natural predators like ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps that feed on mealybugs. You can attract these beneficial insects by planting flowers and herbs that provide them with nectar and pollen.

Horticultural Oils: Apply horticultural oil sprays, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap, to the infested areas of the fruit tree. These oils smother and kill mealybugs without causing significant harm to beneficial insects. Follow the instructions on the product label for proper application.

Pruning Infested Parts: If the infestation is localized, prune and remove heavily infested branches or leaves. Dispose of the pruned material carefully to prevent spreading the mealybugs to other parts of the tree or other plants.

Water Jets: Use a strong stream of water from a hose to dislodge and remove mealybugs from the tree. Focus on areas where the pests tend to congregate, such as leaf axils, bark crevices, and undersides of leaves.

Biological Control: Consider using biological control agents specifically targeted against mealybugs. Some beneficial insects like Cryptolaemus ladybird beetles or parasitic wasps can effectively control mealybug populations. Consult with local agricultural extension services or garden centers for guidance on suitable options for your region.

Maintain Plant Health: Mealybugs are more likely to attack weak or stressed plants. Ensure your fruit trees receive proper care, including appropriate watering, fertilization, and pruning. Healthy trees are more resilient to pest infestations.

Remember, it's important to monitor the infestation and continue treatments as needed to ensure complete control. If the mealybug problem persists or becomes overwhelming, it may be helpful to consult with a professional arborist or local agricultural extension service for further guidance and recommendations.

white bugs on the back of the leaves. What are they?

Updated on: 06/18/2023

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