Mealy Bugs

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Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#1  Postby Gee.S » Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:47 pm

Have had them here attacking one or two Agaves for years -- knocked 'em down regularly but could never kill them off. Now, they have swept across more than half my property, killed some plants, and left several others in a sorry state. It was hard to watch, but that was all I could do with one hand, as they grew out of control after my surgery.

Now my surgically repaired hand is about 25% functional, so I finally treated, and it wasn't easy, but should be easier next month. Sprayed all Agaves and Yuccas with Avid, and drenched with imidacloprid at about 3x the strength I use for weevil prevention.

Mealys attack cactus too, don't they? Should I spray, drench or both?
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"American aloe plant," 1797, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble," perhaps from agasthai "wonder at".

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Re: Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#2  Postby Steph115 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:04 pm

Sorry to hear about the mealys. I didn't even know they attacked xeric plants until recently when my friend up in Michigan sent me a picture of an agave I gave her plagued by the furry little beasts. I've had problems with them on my coffee plant and my gardenia but never on my agaves/cacti/aloes, until I noticed a few happily curled up in the core of my A. utahensis v. nevadensis ::x

Thanks for sharing your treatment regimen. I'd been using Neem oil on my coffee/gardenia, but it hasn't worked all that well. Seems like they dry up and die but then a week or so later they're back in full force. Gotta pull out the bigger guns.
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Re: Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#3  Postby Gee.S » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:19 pm

Steph, I'd guess you've read about all these simple, organic solutions, as have I, but those are for house-plants in an extremely controlled environment. Once out of doors, they are more pervasive and far more difficult to manage.

You know, it never struck me that Mealies might attack non-succulents. So I guess I'll have to treat everything....
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"American aloe plant," 1797, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble," perhaps from agasthai "wonder at".

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Re: Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#4  Postby DesertDweller » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:14 pm

I have had bouts of this here and there, usually one or two plants start getting it bad, others seem untouched. They seem to particularly like A. gentryi 'jaws' for some reason. I usually can keep it from spreading to other plants relatively easily, but wiping it out altogether is slow but steady. I've been successful using Sevin and spraying liberally. Also, if I see the new leaves opening and the newly exposed "gap" replete with the suckers, which tends to be the case if it gets bad, I have taken to using a Sevin-soaked cotton swap to wipe them out whenever I can reach, that or just spraying directly down into the newly unfolding leaf to soak 'em. Not pretty, but it seems to work with enough applications, and I haven't noticed ill effects on the plants as of yet. I've no particular reason to use Sevin over anything else, other than it seems to work and is readily available (and cheap).

As for non-succulents, aside from agave, only ever seen them on my bamboo.
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Re: Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#5  Postby Steph115 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:54 am

Treated with some Sevin - that stuff is gooooood. Forget organic - I'm hooked on the big guns :8:

DesertDweller - my A. utahensis v. nevadensis has mealys in the core just as you describe. I sprayed down in there as best as I could, but if that doesn't work I'm going with your Q-tip method.
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Re: Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#6  Postby DesertDweller » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:31 am

Steph115 wrote:Treated with some Sevin - that stuff is gooooood. Forget organic - I'm hooked on the big guns :8:

DesertDweller - my A. utahensis v. nevadensis has mealys in the core just as you describe. I sprayed down in there as best as I could, but if that doesn't work I'm going with your Q-tip method.


One thing I would add, just found this out recently. When you spray with things like Sevin, it doesn't seem to do much to wash the buggers out, just kills 'em and leaves a mess. I noticed that if you take some insecticidal soap to them later on, that seems to work better at breaking them loose and washing them off. Maybe because the stuff is so comparatively slippery? Not sure, but that has been my method of choice now to clean out the carcasses. :U
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Re: Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#7  Postby Gee.S » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:44 pm

OK, I'm breaking out the big guns. I took Kent's advice and picked up a backpack sprayer. First impression is extremely positive -- this thing is awesome! We'll see how long it lasts, but is was only $65. The plan is to spray everything, plants, ground, rocks, you name it, with the termiticide, bifenthrin. Up to six month residual, and it doesn't kill immediately, giving pests time to move it around and introduce it to their friends. I know this seems very harsh, but my infestation now includes mealies, root mealies and scale, and they are killing my Agaves, even very large Agaves. I just don't see a foliar spray having much impact on root mealies. In a few weeks, I will follow up with a foliar spray of acetamiprid, a translaminar neonicotinoid insecticide primarily directed at exterminating sucking insects, including aphids and their kin. I'm hoping two rounds will end this nightmare.
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Re: Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#8  Postby Steph115 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:11 pm

Good luck Gee. That infestation sounds terrible - I can't believe it's starting to take a toll on your bigger agaves. I hope the big guns work for you.

I've had a good experience with Sevin, although DesertDweller is totally right about it leaving the carcasses. I keep seeing "mealys" and thinking that it hasn't worked, but then when I poke them they fall right off.
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Re: Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#9  Postby DesertDweller » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:16 pm

Just to add, I am finding it more prevalent this year than in previous ones, by a notable margin. I've not ever had this many plants that I had to douse, even if most are not that bad. They are quite pervasive this year, but I've not yet picked up a pattern. A couple plants side by side end up being attacked, but then nothing for a ways off, and then another random one here or there.

Oddly, I did notice they must not like the rough stuff. I have yet to see any real issue on anything scabrous (cerulata, asperrima, etc.). A few of them tried to take hold on one plant, but they seem to have just died somehow. :huh:
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Re: Mealy Bugs

Post Number:#10  Postby Gee.S » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:37 pm

The Agave I first noticed with mealies was A. celulata, about 3-4 years ago. Since first spotted, I could knock 'em down easily enough, but they always return.

I've already noticed one benefit from my shock and awe campaign -- I found a dead gopher today, who apparently dragged himself out of his hole to die after spraying. I never had problems with gophers until construction began on two new homes across the street. The exodus of rodents from the construction site to my property was startling. I suspected gophers were in that mix, but never actually saw one before today.
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"American aloe plant," 1797, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble," perhaps from agasthai "wonder at".

"Some talk the talk, and others walk the walk, but we stalk the stalk"
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