I've spent the summer battling a mealybug invasion, and it was definitely not fun. Apparently, a little hibiscus plant we brought home from the garden center had an infestation, and they just spread like wildfire.
Mealybugs are unarmored scale insects that feed on plant juices. They look like little white fuzzy creatures and can invade your greenhouse, house plants, and garden plants.
I quarantined the culprit, and moved it away from all the other plants, but by the time I realized what had been happening, it was too late. The mealybugs had spread to 4 other plants.
You'll generally find them all crowded around buds or new growth on your plants. they can be picked off by hand, but they feel kind of waxy, so you'd want to wear gloves.
We tried everything to get rid of them:
Ordered ladybugs not once, but twice. We bought an all natural pest spray from the garden center that was supposed to get rid of mealy bugs, but nothing seemed to work. They just kept multiplying.
After so many trials and errors, we FINALLY found something that has gotten rid of them.
Here's what we did:
Fill a spray bottle halfway with rubbing alcohol.
Add 15 drops peppermint essential oil
Add 10 drops citronella essential oil
Fill nearly to the top with water
Add one squirt of dish soap.
Put lid on and shake.
Spray those little buggers until they're saturated.
You may need to repeat in a few days to get the ones you missed and their babies, but this will actually get rid of them once and for all!