The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.


Houston, we have a problem.

A bug problem, that is.

Mealybugs are small, unarmoured pests in the scale family (Pseudococcidae, Hemiptera).  Sluggish and sedentary, they quite literally suck the life out of plants using straw-like mouth parts.  The females, which are wingless, secrete a white wax-like substance to protect themselves and their eggs from desiccation (drying out) and predation.

Our lovely, generic, anonymous tropical houseplant à la Ikea has an absolutely gangbusters infestation of mealies going on.  My wife is not happy they’re on her plant.  I am simultaneously annoyed by the dying plant and withering with guilt at the thought of killing them…I mean, they don’t bite, buzz around my head while I sleep or have 8 legs, which are really the only arthropod crimes worthy of capitol punishment  (i.e., death by Kleenex) according to this Geek .

Now, admittedly, at the request of my beloved,  I tried already.  To kill them, that is.  Got me some o’ that spray soap insecticide, trucked the plant out to the back porch and drenched it.  Poor little mealies lost their fluffy white coats and looked pathetically grey and naked.  I felt a little bad about it.  I shouldn’t have worried, though.  Apparently they had some subs waiting on the bench…the infestation was back to its former glory within weeks.

Sigh.  I suppose I can bring the whole thing, plant and pest alike, back to the porch next time we get a good cold snap.

Poor anonymous Ikea plant…I fear you’ll be taking one for the team.


One response to “Mealybugs

  1. Pingback: Photo Friday: they killed my plant (Pseudococcus longispinus) « The Bug Geek

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