Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Coconut Mealybug

A common pest that infects indoor and outdoor palms is the coconut mealybug (Nipaecoccus nipae).  They are soft-bodied insects that suck sap from plants. This can weaken the plant and cause leaves to shed.  In addition to palms, coleus, lantana, hoya, and poinsettia are preferred by the mealybug.

Some coconut mealybugs are white in color; others range from light brown to yellowish orange.  When the eggs hatch, the newly emerged insects, known as crawlers, move about the plant. At this stage they are the most susceptible to pesticides, and therefore, it is the best time to treat.  Pyrethroid insecticides and insecticidal soaps are usually quite effective.  Spraying the insects off the plant with a strong spray of water will also help. For light infestations, wipe the leaves with a cloth or tissue dipped in rubbing alcohol.