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Most Common Pests In Cannabis: Mealy Bugs

Mealy bugs are small fluffy-like insects that feed on your plant’s sap, draining the vitality out of your plant.
10 June 2020
10 min read
Most Common Pests In Cannabis: Mealy Bugs

Contents:

Mealy bugs are white fluffy bugs that suck the sap out of your plant. Even though they're relatively harmless, they excrete honey-dew which can attract a lot of other bugs and, in combination with warmer temperatures, it can also produce fungi.

These bugs aren't a big deal but can attract other types of bugs and ultimately fungus. Even though they don’t present a big risk, the consequences of having them living in your plant can be fatal.

1. What Are Mealy Bugs?

Mealy bugs are small white insects that thrive in moist and humid places. It can be super easy to find them in your growing space if you don’t take care of the temperature and humidity levels.

2. What Do Mealy Bugs Look Like?

Mealy bugs are white scaled fluffy bugs, looking almost like mold or powdery mildew. You can find both female and male mealy bugs on your plants, both of them look similar but with a couple of differences.

 

Mealy bugs can look like mold or powdery mildew.
 

The male bugs are tiny and have wings, they live for a short amount of time and exist solely for the purpose of reproduction.

Female mealy bugs are the real problem, they are bigger and live for much longer, allowing them to reproduce multiple times, increasing the mealy bug population in your growing room really quickly.

3. Where Are They Found?

In the beginning, these bugs will try to hide, but as the population grows, you will be able to see them easily.

 

Mealy bugs all grouped up.
 

When the population grows, you will see big clumps of what looks like cotton all throughout the plant, especially in the stems and crevices of your plant.

4. What Do Mealy Bugs Do?

These insects literally drain the vitality out of your plant, they feed on the sap of the cannabis plant and will slowly but steadily decrease the amount of energy available to develop, unless you take care of them early.

Mealy bugs also excrete sugary water called honey-dew, this will attract other bugs like ants and other bugs that feed on it.

This will not only have your plant infested with all kinds of bugs but the combination of the bite wounds and honey-dew will produce a fungus that will start covering your plant’s leaves, decreasing the surface area needed to perform photosynthesis.

5. Mealy Bugs Symptoms

With mealy bugs, there aren’t any visible symptoms other than the bugs itself. Although you will see your plant becoming weak followed by the yellowing and death of leaves, you won’t see any sign until the population has grown out of control.

 

Mealy bugs trying to hide in a cannabis leaf.
 

Before that, the only sign of mealy bugs is the appearance of white fluffy bugs grouping up in the stems and leaves.

6. How To Prevent Them?

There’s no efficient way to prevent them, the only advice we can give you is to closely control the humidity and temperature of your growing room.

Another good way of preventing them is to be on the lookout for ants. They feed on honey-dew so if you see ants around your plant, it can be a sign of the beginning of a mealy bug (or any other kind of bug that excretes honey-dew) infestation.

7. How To Deal With Them?

Mealy bugs are quite resistant,  it can be really hard to get rid of them. We recommend using more than one way of dealing with them.

The first thing is to manually remove as much of the bugs as you can. After you’ve done that, you can use Neem oil, Insecticidal soap, and a mix of 90ml of water and 10ml of alcohol to eliminate them.

 

Heavily infested cannabis leaf.
 

Be sure to not use all of them at the same time because that will damage your plant. The best thing to do is to use one method at a time and see which one is more effective in your case.

Also have in mind that completely eliminating them will take quite a lot of time, you will have to apply the treatment regularly and every day if necessary. 

Always take a look at the signs your plant gives and see how the mealy bugs react.

8. In Conclusion

Although mealy bugs aren’t a huge threat, they can have really serious consequences. Signs of ants or any other bugs can be the start of a mealy bug infestation so be sure you check on your plants daily.

Make sure you keep an eye on your plants and take action as soon as you see any bug in your growing space.

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