Mealybugs, dependent upon whether they are male or female, not only look differently but behave differently as well. When it comes to male mealybugs, they have wings and their sole purpose for existing is to mate and multiply. Female mealybugs have legs, but no wings. Both only have the potential of growing to the size of a human fingernail.
For your marijuana plants, female mealybug’s main goal is to find the crevices in your plants and adhere themselves to them. To do this, they create a wax-like protective layer over themselves that protects them from harm while they feed on your plant’s juices. Aside from a protective layer that they place on their bodies, ants too can serve as protectors of mealybugs as they feed.
This article covers:
Signs of a mealybug problem
If you find ants on your plants, there’s a good chance that you have an infestation of mealybugs. Mealybugs are white and look like puffy clumps of a cotton-like substance. They tend to remain part of a tight knit grouping.
When an infestation becomes rampant, small white colored colonies, known as clumps, will pop up on stems within the crevices and stems of your plants, there will be yellowing and dropping off your plant’s leaves and potentially dead ants on and around your plant. While the existence of ants is good in that they ward off predators and parasites that might come along, it signifies that a much larger infestation might be in the works. Once an infestation takes place, it will quickly grow to be out of hand and leaves will start falling off, in essence, ruining your harvest. More about mealybugs in my free grow bible.
Fixing a mealybug problem
Because they will eat all of your plants if given the chance; the only way to try to prevent damage to your crop is to institute measures to keep the mealybugs away in the first place. Some proven techniques to follow in keeping them away include:
- Utilizing a concentrated stream of water to spray the bugs off your plants
- Crushing the mealybugs
- Rubbing mealybugs off plants using a cloth
- Applying rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to a cotton swab and swabbing bugs off plants
- Applying soap or an oil-based product
For those interested in more organic techniques for remedying a mealybug infestation, we recommend spraying neem, cinnamon, or garlic oil onto the plant itself. When done on a cloudy day on both the top and bottom of the leaf, this technique keeps the mealybug population under control to maximum efficiency.
You might also elect to create a solution using a combination of these oils or another one utilizing a mixture of five tablespoons of pure castile soap with two tablespoons olive oil. Once mixed with a gallon of water, the oil component of this solution is particularly effective at sticking onto the plant, thus creating a barrier on the plant to which the mealybug has difficulty adhering. In this case, utilizing bottled as opposed to hard water ensures that your plants do not get water spots on them. Add a teaspoon of garlic or ground red pepper to this mixture – it is even more effective in warding off mealybugs.
Should the techniques mentioned above not work for you, it’s important to remember the value of ladybugs in keeping pets out of your garden. Because ladybugs are natural combatants to mealybugs and other pests, they are particularly effective at doing away with an infestation because of their ability to eat them up.
By following the strategies above that have been laid out for destroying mealybug colonies, you are well on your way to protecting your crop from destruction.
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible.