Pest Away Tips

7 Plants That Repel Mealybugs and Control Infestations

Mealybugs are a nuisance to plants and can cause significant damage if left uncontrolled. These small insects feed on the sap of plants, ultimately stunting their growth and causing a decrease in yield.

In this article, we’ll explore what mealybugs are, how to spot them, and some of the plants that attract them.

Plants That Attract Mealybugs

Plants that are high in sugar content, such as hibiscus, amaryllis, citrus trees, succulents, orchids, philodendrons, and fruit-bearing vegetation, are particularly attractive to mealybugs. These insects use piercing and sucking mouthparts to extract sap from the plant, which can lead to yellowing leaves, wilting, and stunted growth.

What Are Mealybugs And How Do You Spot Them? Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects that are usually pink or white in color.

They are covered in a white, cottony substance that helps to protect them from predators and harsh weather conditions. A mealybug infestation can be identified by the presence of honeydew, a sticky substance that is excreted by the insects as they feed.

Honeydew can attract ants and other insects, leading to further damage to the plant. To spot mealybugs on your plants, look for the white, cottony substance on leaves, stems, and around the base of the plant.

Mealybugs are most active in the summer months and can quickly multiply, leading to an infestation if not controlled.

Controlling Mealybug Infestations

Controlling a mealybug infestation takes persistence and a combination of methods. The first step is to isolate any infected plants to prevent the infestation from spreading.

Next, remove any visible mealybugs by using a strong jet of water or wiping them off with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab. In severe cases, you may need to use an insecticidal soap or neem oil to eradicate the infestation.

Always read the label carefully and follow the instructions when using these products.

Preventing Mealybug Infestations

Prevention is key to avoiding mealybug infestations. Regularly inspecting your plants for signs of mealybugs and promptly removing any infected plants can help prevent the spread of the infestation.

Additionally, avoid over-fertilizing your plants, as this can make them more attractive to mealybugs. Keeping a consistent watering and pruning schedule can also help to keep plants healthy and less vulnerable to mealybugs.


Mealybugs are a common pest that can cause a significant amount of damage to plants. By identifying the signs of an infestation early and taking necessary steps to control and prevent it, you can protect your plants and keep them healthy.

Remember to always read the label when using insecticides and follow the instructions carefully. With a little bit of effort, you can keep your plants free of mealybugs and thriving for years to come.

3) Plants That Mealybugs Love

Mealybugs are attracted to soft-stemmed plants and have a particular affinity for succulents, tropical houseplants, citrus trees, orchids, philodendrons, and fruit and vegetable crops. These plants provide an abundant source of sap for the mealybugs to feed on.

Mealybug activity on plants can cause a yellowing of leaves, stunted growth, bud drop, and other long-term issues. These pesky insects can also secrete a sticky substance known as honeydew that can attract other pests like ants and cause fungal growth on the affected plant.

Succulents are an attractive target for mealybugs as they are typically grown in well-draining soil mixes with low nutrient content, which make them susceptible to mealybug attacks. For tropical house plants like the hibiscus, mealybugs can cause the flowers to fall off prematurely, leaving the plant disfigured.

Citrus trees, which are popular for backyard farming, are also a prime target for mealybugs. Mealybugs can cause distorted and discolored fruit, which can lead to significant loss for citrus farmers.

4) Grow These 7 Plants That Mealybugs Hate To Keep Them Away

Mealybugs can cause significant damage to your plants, but fortunately, there are a few plants that you can grow that will help to repel them. These plants include aromatic herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, garlic, lavender, onion, and basil.

These plants give off a strong scent that repels mealybugs and other insects. Thyme is a great herb to grow in your garden as it gives off a strong scent that repels mealybugs.

Plus, thyme is an excellent addition to many dishes and can be used fresh or dried. Rosemary is another herb that has a strong aroma and is excellent for repelling mealybugs.

Rosemary can be grown in pots or directly in the ground and can be used in various recipes. Oregano is an excellent herb to grow, not only for its culinary uses but also for its pest-repelling properties.

Garlic is another great addition to your garden, as it gives off a strong odor that repels mealybugs and other insects. Lavender, with its beautiful purple flowers and delightful scent, is also a great choice for repelling mealybugs.

It is an easy plant to care for and can add a touch of elegance to your garden. Onions are versatile vegetables that can be used in multiple cuisines, but they also give off a strong scent that repels mealybugs.

Onion plants can be grown from seed or from sets and thrive in well-draining soil. Finally, basil is an herb that is not only great for repelling mealybugs but also for adding flavor to your dishes.

Basil can be grown in pots or directly in the ground and can be harvested continuously for use in various recipes. In conclusion, mealybugs can be a serious problem for plants, causing significant damage to your garden or crops.

Fortunately, there are many plants you can grow to repel them, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, garlic, lavender, onion, and basil. Adding these plants to your garden not only aids in pest control, but it also enhances the beauty and flavor of your garden.

With a little effort and persistence, you can keep your plants mealybug-free and thriving.

5) Other Ways To Repel And Remove Mealybugs From Plants

Apart from the plants weve discussed that can repel mealybugs, there are several other methods that can help prevent and remove infestations. One of the simplest ways is to remove mealybugs by hand.

This method is particularly effective if the infestation is small and localized. Use a soft-bristled brush or a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to wipe off the mealybugs carefully.

Neem oil is a natural product that is extracted from the neem tree, and it can also be used to control mealybugs. Neem oil works by disrupting the life cycle of the mealybug, preventing it from maturing and reproducing.

It also makes plants less attractive to mealybugs, effectively repelling them. However, it is important to note that neem oil can be harmful to some plants if applied too frequently or in large amounts.

It is crucial to isolate new plants before introducing them to your garden if you want to prevent mealybug infestations. Quarantine new plants for at least a month to observe any signs of mealybugs or other pests.

The quarantine period should be long enough to allow any potential infestations to surface before introducing the new plant to the rest of your garden. Insecticides can also be used to control mealybugs, but caution should be exercised as many of these products can be harmful to beneficial insects and the environment.

Always read the label carefully and follow the instructions when using insecticides. If youre not comfortable using insecticides, there are natural alternatives to consider such as diatomaceous earth or repellent plants.

Professional pest control companies can also assist with mealybug infestations. These companies have the expertise and equipment necessary to rid plants of mealybugs.

While this may come at a higher cost, it may be worth it for large or persistent infestations. 6)


Mealybugs are a challenging pest to deal with, but with persistence and the right methods, you can control and prevent infestations effectively.

Remove mealybugs by hand, use natural methods such as neem oil, quarantine new plants, or even consider hiring professional help if necessary. Its important to protect your plants from mealybugs, as their sap-sucking activity can cause significant damage to the plant’s growth and development.

Remember to regularly inspect your plants for any signs of mealybug activity and take necessary steps to control and prevent infestations. By following these strategies, you can keep your garden healthy and thriving.

In conclusion, mealybugs can cause significant damage to plants, and it’s essential to identify and control them as early as possible. Plants such as hibiscus, amaryllis, citrus trees, succulents, orchids, philodendrons, and fruit and garden crops are particularly vulnerable to mealybug infestations.

However, there are also many plants that mealybugs hate, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, garlic, lavender, onion, and basil, which can help repel these insects. Additionally, we’ve explored various methods, including neem oil, quarantine, manual removal, and professional help, that can be used to control and prevent mealybug infestations.

Ultimately, protecting your plants from mealybugs is crucial for optimal plant health and flourishing gardens.

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