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
© CSU/Denver County Extension Master Gardener 2010
888 E. Iliff Avenue, Denver, CO 80210
Date last revised: 01/05/2010