How to Identify and Treat Mealy Bugs on Plants

What are these white things on my China doll plant & how to get rid of them?

Hi Juanita,

They look like Mealy Bugs. Mealy Bugs are one of the most annoying and destructive pests that attack houseplants. These tiny sucking insects look like small pieces of cotton. When young, mealy bugs have legs and can crawl. This is the best time to treat an infestation. Mealy bugs suck the sap out of a plant, concentrating on the tender new growth; this causes spots on the leaves, yellow leaves, leaf drop, slow growth, and weak stems. While feeding on the plant, mealy bugs secrete a sticky substance called “honeydew” which acts as a breeding ground for “ sooty mold.”  When mealy bugs are immature and crawling, use yellow sticky cards to trap them. Once they mature, Mealy Bugs should be sprayed with the green solution.(recipe in the Glossary) Be sure the plant is well-watered and not in the sun when you spray. Repeat this treatment every 10 days for a month to catch any further eggs that might hatch.