Mealybugs attract ants by excreting honeydew a sticky sweet substance that the ants feed on. If you look closely at your houseplant and notice little white tufts of something that looks like heavy cotton lint it s probably mealybugs.
Mealybugs give the appearance of lint due to a waxy outer residue that they secrete for camouflage and protection.
Signs of mealybugs on plants. The newly hatched nymphs range in color from yellow to pink. Many species of this bug have projections that extend from their body that give the appearance. A mealybug infestation will cause leaves to lose color and wilt.
What plants do they live on. Mealy bugs are oval shaped soft bodied insects that are covered in a white powdery wax coating. Plants infested with mealybugs usually have leaves that turn yellow and wilt and if the infestation is not eliminated the plant may eventually die.
Be on the lookout for a white cottony substance on the leaves stems and shoots of plants. Large populations can reduce plant vigour and stunt growth and may cause premature leaf fall. Many mealybug species also attack house plants.
Mealybugs on plants look like small white bugs or they may appear as white fuzzy stuff on plant leaves and stems. Large numbers of mealybugs may result in an accumulation of honeydew. These insects can also resemble cottony spots especially as females lay eggs encased in a waxy cover.
Soft bodied flat and waxy mealybugs can also be identified by their oval shape and body segmentation. Mealybugs feed by sucking sap from their host plants weakening them. The females can look like small patches of cotton especially when laying eggs.
This is often the first sign of mealybugs. This makes plants sticky and encourages the growth of sooty moulds giving leaf and stem surfaces a blackened appearance. You need to keep this up at least once a week until there are no longer signs of mealybugs.
One session is not enough to rid your plant of the mealybugs. Be sure you cover up the surface where you are spraying the solution so there will be no damage to your furniture or your floors. Mealybugs on outdoor plants tend to live in colonies.
If you don t get rid of mealybugs they can end up killing your plants. Adult males however look completely different. They have wings and look more like small flies and are not often seen.
Over time the damage causes leaves to yellow and drop off and will cause new growth to become stunted and deformed. The short lived adult male mealybug resembles a two winged fly and are rarely seen. The classic sign of a mealybug infestation is tiny white bugs on plants.
As they feed they form the waxy coating over their bodies and secrete honeydew that attracts ants and can encourage sooty mold to form. Underneath that coat the mealybug looks a lot like an ancient trilobite only much smaller.