Small parasite that bites plants to feed, the mealy bug is a phytophagous insect belonging to the super-family Coccoidea, counting more than 8000 species. The females usually produce a kind of protective wax or lacquer that protects them from plant protection products.
Like aphids, they produce honeydew that ants like to consume.
Coccoidea feed on a wide variety of plants, making them a common garden pest. Fortunately, for the most common species, there are a variety of methods to control mealybugs.
Solutions for controlling mealybugs
In addition to chemical treatments that cause pollution, there are many biological and natural solutions to treat these phytophagous pests.
Lacewings are beneficials that consume mealybugs.
Easily acquired, lacewings also feed on thrips, many phytophagous mites, sycamore tigers, as well as aphids, making them a valuable auxiliary insect.
The comma beetle attacks mealybugs at all stages of their development, as well as woolly apple aphids.
Before purchasing any beneficial insects, be sure to study the parameters that may affect their effectiveness. Temperature, infested plants and pest numbers can affect the success of introducing beneficials.
Other biological control methods
Black soap, applied on the foliage of plants, allows to clean the honeydew of some insects, including mealybugs.
There are also insecticides based on rapeseed oil (such as Naturen eradibug), which form a lipid film that coats the insect, which allows to eliminate it by asphyxiation; thus allowing to get rid of many varieties of mealybugs.