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Problem Solver > Roses > Mealy Bugs

Commonly found on houseplants, these small insects can creep up on you and turn into populations that are hard to control. It’s important to treat plants immediately once you find this pest. These small pests are usually 1-4 mm long and are covered with a white, cottony or mealy wax secretion and look similar to tiny cotton balls on plants.

On average, the adult female can lay up to 600 eggs and within 6 to 14 days, they hatch, and immature scale crawlers emerge. This stage varies with plant species and temperature. When it does occur, it’s the time when dispersal to new plant parts or new plant hosts occur. This is when you want to target treatment to stop a large scale infestation.


Once a feeding site is selects, the mealy bug begins to feed on the sap of the plant. While eating, a sticky ware substance is secreted (commonly called honeydew). This liquid adheres to leaves and provides the right medium for sooty mould to colonise and grow. 

In addition to the sooty mould, plant damage is caused by the pests toxic saliva, both resulting in distorted plant growth and premature leaf drop as well as the plants developing yellow chlorotic spots.

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