I am now the proud owner of 2 large Pony Tail Palms, which look fantastic in the conservatory and I am very pleased with them. However the other day I noticed something white on one of the leaves and then when I took a closer look I was horrified to find an enormous infestation of mealy bug hiding in the leaf joints. I quickly checked the other one and that is fine, but it amazing how quickly a pest infestation can take hold a escalate. I cleaned the conservatory and checked all my plants only a few weeks ago and did not spot anything on them then, so this must have happened since then. Luckily we supply both SB Invigorator and Cryptolaemus Larvae that will control mealy bug, so I will be able to get it under control, but in the meantime it means I have been able to take some super pictures of mealybug for this newsletter and for the website. Mealybug is a hard pest to get under control, but to find out more :-
Mealy Bugs are soft bodied, pink / grey in colour and about 5mm long. They are covered with white waxy threads and a waxy covering. Mealy Bugs feed by sucking the sap from the plant, so they will normally be found on the stems or leaf joints although they will attack leaves causing them to yellow. The insect extracts large amounts of sap with the excess sap being excreted as honeydew causing a sticky deposit on the lower leaves. In time, sooty mould grows on the honeydew resulting in an unpleasant mess. Another sure sign of a mealy bug infestation is "white wool" developing on the plant leaves and stems. This is where the eggs are laid. The female is flightless, only the young nymphs are active and search out new feeding sites by crawling from plant to plant. As the nymphs mature they become less active and settle down to feed. The life cycle can take up to 13 weeks at 18°C/66°F. As the adults are flightless the pest must initially be brought in on infected plants and once it established it is very difficult to eradicate.
Control mealy bug in your greenhouse or conservatory by introducing Cryptolaemus Larvae AS SOON as you see mealy bug and the temp is 16°C/61°F. Place the Cryptolaemus larvae directly onto the infected plants near the mealy bugs - these larvae are easy to handle.
The Cryptolaemus Larvae (which look very similar to Mealy Bug) feed on the mealy bug before turning into the adult Cryptolaemus ladybirds, which in turn will breed leading to the next generation of Cryptolaemus Larvae. They are delivered in tubes by 1st class post and will fit through the letterbox. The female cryptolaemus then lays her eggs next to the Mealy bug eggs in the "white wool" egg pouches and the whole process is repeated. All stages of the Cryptolaemus eat Mealy Bugs and their eggs. Unlike the Mealy Bug the Cryptolaemus can fly and in very efficient in searching out the Mealy bugs. Cryptolaemus requires both heat and light, so introduce them when the temperature is 16°C/61°F and use artificial light if it is early in the season. N.B. If mealybug is present and the temperature is below 16°C, control the mealy bug with SB Invigorator until the temperatures are high enough - this chemical-free spray will allow you to keep the mealy bug under-control and then once temperatures are high enough it will be safe to introduce the Cryptolaemus.
How many Cryptolaemus Larvae do you need :-
- For a small greenhouse where the mealy bug have just appeared - use 1 introduction of 10 Cryptolaemus Larvae.
- For larger greenhouses or where Mealy Bug numbers are higher - use more Cryptolaemus Larvae.
- If the infestation is very heavy, spray with SB Invigorator 1st and then introduce Cryptolaemus - see our Emergency Pest Pack (SB Invigorator followed by Cryptolaemus Larvae).
N.B. Cryptolaemus Larvae are very sensitive to chemical sprays, so if you have recently used a chemical spray i.e. within the last 2-3 weeks, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to check how soon Cryptolaemus Larvae can be introduced?
TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT CONTROLLING MEALY BUG WITH SB INVIGORATOR SPRAY AND / OR CRYPTOLAEMUS LARVAECLICK HERE
SB Invigorator - Use SB Invigorator to save your plants from insect pests i.e. aphids, mealy bug, wooly aphids, scale etc and reduce fungal diseases BOTH underglass and outdoors. This natural spray controls a range of pests in a safe and effective way PLUS it also controls fungal diseases. SB Invigorator should be in your store cupboard ready to :-
- Control pests BEFORE introducing natural controls - Use it to stop pests getting out of control and as there are no harmful chemical residues left behind, beneficial insects can then be introduced i.e. spotted Whitefly? Spray with SB Invigorator and then introduce Encarsia.
- Control any pest hotspots ONCE natural controls have been introduced - Use it to target any pest hotspots as it will not harm beneficial insects once they have been introduced.
- Use for a pest emergency - been away or not noticed a rapid build up of pests such as red spider mite or greenfly? - use it to get control BEFORE introducing beneficial insects.
- Use it to control powdery mildew on cucumbers - some sprays are NOT suitable for controlling powdery mildew on cucumbers, but SB Invigorator is safe to use. Simply spray weekly to keep it under control.
- Control pests during the autumn and winter when it is too cold to use beneficial insects i.e. in unheated greenhouses / conservatories - There are no harmful chemical residues left behind, so beneficial insects can be introduced AS SOON as the temperatures are warm enough in the spring.
Use SB Invigorator to control insect pests such as aphids, mealy bug, wooly aphids, scale and when used regularly it will reduce fungal diseases such as mildew. SB Plant Invigorator is not only highly effective, but it is also biodegradable and non toxic. SB Plant Invigorator can be used in the garden, conservatory or in the greenhouse and most importantly can be used on edible plants - pick and eat straightway. SB Invigorator is brilliant at clearing heavy infestations BEFORE introducing a natural control. Here the spray has been applied twice at 2 day intervals to kill a heavy infestation of mealy bug before introducing cryptolaemus. The first spray removes the protective wax from the pest, which normally makes it so difficult to control and then the subsequent spray 2 days later kills the pest. As no harmful chemical residues are left behind, the cryptolameus were immediately introduced to give on-going pest control. SB Invigorator is available as a 500ml ready to use spray, as a 250ml concentrate (makes 25 litres of spray), or as a 500ml concentrate (makes 50 litres of spray) for use in your own sprayer. CLICK HERE to find out more.