Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mealy bugs

I went out to do some preening and pruning in the front garden this morning because there were some issues that needed to be addressed. The strawberries were one of those issues.

The strawberries in desperate need of attention
They really needed a pruning
My plan was to prune all the yucky stuff off and then start some new plants with the runners that are going crazy right now.

Unfortunately I discovered there is a pretty bad mealy bug infestation on them

When I realized that the plants and soil were completely infested with mealy bugs, I went to work to try and get a handle on them. First I started with Safer brand insecticidal soap. If I would have caught this sooner, I may have been able to just eradicate them using nothing but a blast of water but I felt the infestation had moved beyond that point.

Then I went through and examined the plants carefully
I wiped off any remaining mealy residue as well as I could and even scraped off a layer of soil all around the plants. I pruned them trying to take as much of the mealy bug debris off as I could. They were focused at the base of the plant.

Now I am going to watch over these plants and see how it goes. I may apply another dose of soap, or I may even uproot all the plants and replace the soil in this EarthBOX because it's been the same soil for quite some time so it could probably use refreshing and I think the mealy bugs may have the soil well infested. Mealy bugs are yet another insect that ants will farm on your plants so they can eat the excretions the mealy bugs (or aphids or leafhoppers) leave behind after sucking the sap out of your plants. I am going to try some other methods for getting the ants under control too.

The plants look better after their pruning
Mealy bugs are not typically difficult to control so hopefully we're on our way to seeing them off but I'll keep you posted.

Gidget and Frijole thought I was talking about an actual meal, they don't think mealy bugs qualify.

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