Getting Rid of Scale Insects and Mealy Bugs
Scale Insects and Mealy Bugs (Coccoidae) include red, white and cushion scale, mealy bugs and lerps. Scale insects rarely become a problem in well-managed organic gardens where their natural predators (principally lady-birds and small wasps) are active.
The historic story of the introduction of the little Australian rodolia beetle into California, to clean up their enormous problem of cottony cushion scale single handed, should be enough in itself to give the gardener faith in the natural system.
When infestation by scale insects seems to get out of hand the use of white oil is very effective; it is of such low toxicity to other insects that it can be regarded as completely acceptable to the organic gardener if and when scale control becomes imperative.
Astar’s Place also has a great idea using a flea collar. Check it out in the video or take a look at Planet Natural on Mealy Bug Treatments.
Mealy bug frequently becomes a nuisance on many indoor plants that rarely suffer from their attentions when grown in their natural habitat.
The reasons are twofold. Firstly, there is no doubt that the stress of the unnatural indoor environment, like any other form of stress on plants, is conducive to pest and disease attack, but perhaps more significant is the lack of opportunity for either natural predators or parasites to find the prey.
Early detection and treatment with methylated spirits applied on the tip of a camel hair brush dissolves the white waxy water repellent secretion of the mealy bugs which normally gives them efficient protection against water based pyrethrum spray.
Sometimes, methylated spirits alone will kill the pests, but if the removal of the waxy coating by the solvent spirit is followed by application of pyrethrum, then there should be no survivors, including the clusters of tiny newborn nymphs thatnestle beneath the female in the axils of leaves and stems.