How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Succulents? (Full Easy Guide)

One day I notice a previously unknown white substance on my succulent foliage. First I thought it was dust accumulation or something like that. But more close examination revealed it was some kind of animal. So I begin the search for it. And I found that they were mealybugs.

Mealybugs are pests that look like a fungus. They feed on the sap of succulents and it might cause the plant to die. Even though the harm is not severe at a small infestation. It can cause the plant’s leaves to turn yellow and wilt and eventually fall off if heavily infested, which is why you should take care of this pest problem before it’s too late. so let’s see how to get rid of mealybugs on succulents.

What are Mealybugs?


Mealybugs are a type of scale insect found in relatively warm and dry climates. They look like white-colored, tiny wool-like masses. They tend to lie around the stem, leaves, or new growth of your succulents. You might not even realize that they’re insects at first sight since it’s common to mistake them for a fungus. These pests suck the sap out of the plant and weaken it which eventually causes the plant to die. These bugs secrete a sticky substance called honeydew as they feed on the plants.

This causes mildew to grow on the plant’s leaves, which attracts ants. Even though the harm is not severe a small infestation can harm to succulents. which is why you should take care of this pest problem before it’s too late!

What are Mealybugs

How to get rid of mealybugs on succulents

You could do many things to get rid of these annoying pests (Mealybugs On Succulents). All you have to do is spray insect repellent on all the plant’s infested areas.  It’s best to go over one by one to see which method suits your plant the best.

Method 1: Neem oil

Neem oil is a great way to eradicate mealybugs from your succulent plant but the most important thing when using neem oil is to follow the dilution instructions. It’s best to mix about a tablespoon of neem oil with a gallon of water since it is a natural pesticide and is concentrated. All you have to do is spray it on all the plant’s infested areas. Make sure to thoroughly spray it mostly under the leaves and around the stem and all those places that are hard to get.

It is also essential to keep the succulents away from direct sunlight after treating them with neem oil. Keep your plants in a well-ventilated area after treating them so that the water dries out quickly. Only use this method once a week since it can damage your plants otherwise.

Method 2: 70% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) spray

This is considered one of the best and cheapest ways to get rid of pests on your succulents. The great thing about isopropyl alcohol is that it’s not harmful to your plants or you in comparison to pesticides. Pesticides usually contain various chemicals that could be harmful to you and your plants. Using 70% rubbing alcohol is a safer method that is as effective to use a spray bottle.

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Put the rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and spray the rubbing alcohol on your succulents and be sure to spray in between the leaves to get the mealybugs that could be hiding. You may want to pour the spray onto the soil to kill any eggs that they might have left in the soil. The alcohol penetrates the sticky barrier that the mealy bugs have and kills them almost instantly. Another great thing about this method is that alcohol evaporates quickly and prevents damage to your succulents.

Method 3: Ladybugs

Ladybugs are natural predators that feed on mealybugs and many other harmful plant pests. Using ladybugs is a cheap and effective solution for getting rid of mealybugs on your plants. Since Ladybugs are not detrimental to humans, your pets, or plants, this is a great way to eradicate your infested succulents’ pests. All you have to do is buy some Ladybugs online or from your local store and release them onto your infested plants. They will take care of the rest!

Method 4: Artificial insecticides

You can buy many synthetic insecticides on the market that you can use to get rid of mealybugs. But it is essential to take precautions when using these by wearing gloves and masks when needed. Make sure to follow the instructions given so that you wouldn’t end up harming yourself or your plants.

Method 5: Dish soap

Using dish soap is another inexpensive method to get rid of mealy bugs on your succulents. All you need is water and a mild, non-detergent liquid dishwasher that does not have a degreaser in it. Mix four tablespoons of dish soap liquid with 1 liter of water and put it into a spray bottle and spray it on all the plant’s infested areas. Make sure to spray it on the top and under the leaves. Wash it off after a few hours so that your plants are not damaged.

This method works because insecticidal soap helps to rinse off the wax layer that mealybugs have on their bodies to safeguard them. This causes the cell layer to break down.

You can find all mentioned methods summarized in this infographic. You can download this print it and display it where you can see it easily.

How To Get Rid Of Mealybugs On Succulents Infographic

Mealybugs symptoms and signs on succulents

Unless you check your plants often, it might be a bit difficult to tell whether your succulent plant has been infested with Mealybugs on Succulents at first. Usually, when people notice something wrong with their plants, there are noticeable changes. So here are some symptoms and signs that could indicate a mealybug infestation.

Honeydew leaves

If you notice sticky, exact honey-like stuff on your plants’ leaves along with black-colored sooty mold, this is terrible news. It is a sign that mealybugs are feeding on your lovely succulents. Honeydew is a substance that mealy bugs secrete when they feed on the plants. Ants feed on these substances that bugs secrete and are attracted to them. So if you see any ants hanging around your succulent plants, this could be a sign of BUGS as well.

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Deformed succulent leaves

If your succulent plant plates are starting to grow distorted in shape, this might be a sign that it could be infested with mealybugs.

Stunting growth

If you notice that your plants’ growth is dwarfed or stunted, this could be another sign of mealybugs. This is because all the plant juices are being sucked dry by these troublesome pests, which hinders your plants’ growth.

Chlorosis in leaves

Chlorosis is when the leaves lose their beautiful green color and turn yellow due to the sap-sucking mealybugs. If your succulent plant’s leaves are turning yellow, it’s best to check for bugs and take necessary actions.

Wilting in leaves

Are the leaves of your beautiful succulent starting to wilt? Unfortunately for you, this could be another symptom that indicates that mealybugs have taken over your plant.

Leaves Defoliation

If all the above symptoms and signs go unnoticed, this is an indication that your plant is heavily infested with mealybugs. Your plant’s leaves will start to fall off, and at this stage, your plant could be dying. Since none of us wants to watch our plants succumb to pest infestations and die over time, it’s essential to frequently check on your plants. So make sure to fit under the leaves, around the stem, or near any new growth of your succulents.

How do identify mealybugs on succulents?

There are a few ways to identify Mealybugs On Succulents. Here are some. Do you see any white cobweb-type oval-shaped creatures crawling around your succulent, especially under or in between the leaves, around the stem, or new growth? Bad news for you! This is the most obvious way to identify that succulents have overrun your plant.

If you notice white powder-looking stuff on your plants’ leaves, this could be an indication that your plant has been infested with the mealy bug. What may seem like the white powder is the eggs of mealybugs. It’s essential to take action when you notice this so that the infestation does not grow into a serious one. If you see ants on your succulent plants, this could be another sign that your plants have mealybugs hidden inside them. Ants come to feed on the honeydew that bugs secrete. So it’s best to be on the lookout if you notice ants around your plants.

Related questions

Will vinegar kill mealybugs on succulents?

Yes, vinegar does kill mealybugs It is an easy way to remove Mealybugs On Succulents. Take about 30 ml of apple cider vinegar and dilute it with about 100ml of water. Now put it into a spray bottle and spray it thoroughly on all the affected areas of your succulent. Do this in the evening. Apple cider vinegar helps get rid of the mealy bugs, but you might have to do it a few times before seeing complete results. There are many more effective ways that are inexpensive and easy to access.

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What is the best way to get rid of mealybugs on succulents?

70% isopropyl alcohol. This is the answer you’re looking for. Out of all the methods, I would say this is the best way to get rid of mealy bugs. When sprayed on the infested plants, alcohol will penetrate the wax coat that mealybugs have as a protective shield on their bodies and kill them. This is very effective and also cheap. In addition to that, the alcohol evaporates quickly, and it doesn’t harm you or your plants.

Where do mealybugs come from?

Even though it’s not precisely clear where mealybugs come from, the most common reason is said to be from the new plants you buy that have already been infested with bugs. When you buy plants that already have mealybugs on them and put them together with the other plants in your garden, it’ll only take a matter of days for them to spread. So it’s important to quarantine your newly bought plants for a week or two to make sure they aren’t infested with any pests.

This is the best way to prevent it from being spread to your other plants if the new plants are infested

Another reason is said to be under-watering. Since bugs thrive in dry and warm climates, when your plants are too dry and under-watered, it is easier for them to take over your plants and grow. So it’s essential to keep your succulents hydrated. Make sure not to overwater the plants though since that can cause root rot in succulents.

Is straight rubbing alcohol safe for succulents?

Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is safe to rub or spray straight on succulents since it doesn’t harm your succulents. It does a great job in killing the mealybugs, and it is a better option than buying pesticides that can be toxic to both you and your plants. If it’s a small infestation, you can soak a q tip in alcohol and dab on the bugs directly. If it’s a severe infestation, then the best thing to do is spray thoroughly on all the plant’s infested areas.

Like any other pest, They are harmful to your plants. Ignoring them could lead to the demise of your gorgeous succulents, and they might even ruin any other plants you have in your garden. So don’t take this matter lightly and take necessary actions to ensure that your succulent plants grow healthy without Mealybugs On Succulents.

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Read: Succulents Leaves Falling Off? How To Solve Easy

About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.