Mealybugs Almost Killed my Brazilian Raintree

Mealybugs are soft bodied insects that look like little cotton balls with legs. Recently, they almost killed one of my bonsai trees. It is starting to recover now, but it will be a long road back to health. They have killed many of my houseplants. They feed by sucking the water out of the leaves. They multiply very quickly, so if you don’t catch them right away, they can kill a plant in a matter of days. I have read that healthy plants can tolerate low populations of mealybugs, and still survive with some damage, but with my plants, they always seem to kill the plant very quickly, so maybe that means my plants are not that healthy, but they always seem to be before the mealybugs strike. It’s very important to check the underside of every leave of a plant because that is where they like to hide.

I have tried spraying them with a solution of water and alcohol, and then removing the mealybugs from the plant. That hasn’t worked very well for me. I also tried various insecticides, but they didn’t seem to work that well either. Then I read that Neem oil can be effective against mealybugs, so recently I purchased a bottle of neem oil from Lowe’s, and tried it. So far, it seems to be working very well. The leaves on my bonsai tree are starting to come back now. I will keep you posted on how things progress.

Michael Landau