Sunday, October 4, 2009

Deceitful bugs

Urgh... I hate mealybugs..

I know some are happily feasting on my lemon balm now as I write..

Mealybugs are deceitful creatures. I know deceitful is a strong word... but they are.

They move really slowly.. but reproduce at an amazing rate. One day, you see one or two mealy bugs.. You kill them and think your plant is alright.. but then the next day, you find a few more.. and then more the day after.

And then they hide in the most obscure and difficult-to-find places. As I try not to spray insecticide on leaves I eat, I try to catch and kill these awful mealy bugs by hand. But there always seem to be an odd mealybug or two that I miss.. because I'd see a few more lurking around the next day.


See that awful mealybug feasting on my lemon balm?
This one is dead right after this shot... (Hahahah...*Evil laughter*)

Mealybug females feed on plant sap, robbing the plant with essential nutrients. They attach themselves to the plant and secrete a powdery wax layer used for protection while they suck the plant juices. Mealybugs feed on all parts of the plant, but especially on tender new growth. They cause the plant to be weak - the plant will look dejected and yellowish and then the leaves would start falling off.

The male mealybugs are short-lived as they do not feed at all as adults and only live to impregnate the females.

Apparently, rubbing alcohol with a cotton swab on the plant can treat minor mealybug infestations.

Hm.. I'd start doing that on my lemon balm tomorrow.

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