In this article we will discuss:
Mealybugs are an interesting type of insect in that their male and female counterparts function extremely differently. They even look dissimilar: the males have wings (so as to better find the females to fertilize, which is their sole purpose in life) and the females have legs, but no wings. Both of them grow to the size of just a human fingernail.
Female mealybugs find the crevices in your marijuana plants and adhere themselves onto these places. They create a wax-like protective layer over themselves so they won’t be harmed while they feed on your plant’s juices. They generally only go to plants that have ants already there, since the ants act as protectors of these bugs while they feed.
The ants will fend off any predators or parasites that might come along. This means that, in general, if there are no ants on your plants then you most likely will not have any mealybugs come to bother your plants.
Signs of mealybugs
You will notice that you have a mealybug problem when you see various groups of white, puffy clumps of a cotton-like substance. With a mealybug infestation, you will see these clumps popping up on stems on within crevices on your plants.
One small infestation on your marijuana plant should not harm it much, but when you notice one, then you need to make sure to control the infestation. It can quickly get out of hand and your leaves will start dying off.
Not sure if mealybugs are causing the damage to your marijuana plants? Check the article Marijuana pest and bug control for a list with pictures of all pests and bugs
How to get rid of mealybugs
You can use a hard stream of water to spray the bugs right off of your plants. Since they are easy to see, you can also use a cloth to simply crush them and then rub them off. As cruel as it seem, you should not forget to squish the puffy bugs because otherwise they will just find a new home within your garden.
You also can use rubbing alcohol (wiki) or nail polish remover, put it on a Q-tip or cotton swab, and just swab them right off of the plant. If you want to keep things organic, there are always soap or oil-based methods that will work effectively.
Neem oil, cinnamon oil, or garlic oil can all be sprayed on the plants and will keep the mealybug population under control. Don’t forget to spray underneath the leaves of your plants. Make sure to do it on a cloudy day or when the sun is low in the sky so as to have the maximum effect.
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If you want to make another kind of solution, try mixing five tablespoons or pure castile soap and two tablespoons of olive oil, and add them to a gallon of water. The oil component helps the solution stick on the plant for a longer amount of time. Make sure that, if you happen to have hard water, you use bottled water to avoid forming water spots on the plants.
A commercial product like Bug Blaster will always to the job. If you want to make sure to kill them all buy something like Bug Blaster.
You can also try adding a teaspoon of garlic or ground red pepper to the mixture to really keep the mealybugs away. Spray your plants with the final mixture, keeping in mind to get the undersides of the leaves.
Marijuana plant symptoms
Recognize the marijuana plant symptoms caused by Mealybugs:
- White, cotton-like clumps on crevices
- White, cotton-like clumps on stems
- Yellowing of leaves
- Dropping of leaves
- Death of leaves
- Ants present
As with many insect problems, the natural combatant for such an infestation is a population of ladybugs. It is very possible that ladybugs will appear and eat up the mealybugs, therefore solving the problem. In case, Mother Nature does not come to the rescue with her army of ladybugs. However, you should try one of the above options to ensure that the mealybugs do not damage your plants too much.
Remember that plants with strong genetics have less change of getting sick and are less vulnerable for pests and diseases. So make sure to buy cannabis seeds from a trusted seed bank.
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Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible