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Mealybugs on Houseplants

By Mary Small, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Urban Integrated Pest Management

White cottony, fluffy masses on the stems of your houseplants are most likely mealybugs. Mealybugs are soft-bodied wingless insects that suck sap out of the plant. Their feeding may cause leaves to yellow as the plant weakens. Immediately isolate a plant infested with mealybugs. If the infestation is light and only on one or two plants, the pests can be handpicked or removed with rubbing alcohol. Take a cotton swab, dip it in the alcohol and touch it to the mealybugs. Washing foliage regularly will help discourage future infestations.

Photo: Judy Sedbrook

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010