Mealybugs On Succulents

Updated: September 16, 2022

Mealybugs On Succulents

Mealybugs are scale insects that belong to the Pseudococcidae Family. Most of these mealybugs are categorized as pests because they draw juices or sap from houseplants as well as different fuzzy succulent species and become carriers for various plant diseases.

Mealybugs on succulents are pretty common. These pests can infect just about any succulent - trailing, fuzzy succulents, hardy succulents, or any other.

Mealybugs on succulent plants

Should you be concerned if you find your succulents attacked by mealybugs?

Yes, you should be concerned because mealybugs or pests spread quickly from one plant to another, almost like the plague. When they start spreading, it is tough to control them or even get rid of them. Thus, you need to know ways to stop the plague from spreading. One word of caution - do not use any regular pesticide on the mealybugs as it can harm your succulents.

How do mealybugs look?

It is very difficult - almost impossible - to see mealybugs. On the face, the mealybugs appear as white cottony web-like substances. It is often easy to confuse the growth of mealybugs with fuzzy succulents since, in both cases, there's a white appearance. In most cases, the bugs are found near new growths as they love to feed on them. Since mealybugs typically inhabit moist places, overwatering your houseplants can be a cause of attracting these pests. Many a time, overfertilization of succulents also creates the right ecosystem for their growth.

The next time you detect mealybugs on a string of pearls, you may probably need to react fast as soon you will start to notice deformed and mis-shaped leaves. Sometimes there are dents in the leaves if you do not address the issue of pests. Majorly, mealybugs grow on indoor plants because the conditions are almost right. But, that does not mean that the pests cannot infect outdoor succulents too.

It is difficult to kill the bugs since it is not easy to see the bugs except for the sticky white stuff on succulents. But, as pointed out earlier, the longer you take to defeat them, the more harm they will cause to your plants. So, if you are wondering 'what is eating my sedum leaves,' it could possibly be the diminutive but contagious mealybugs.

Types of mealybugs

  1. Cochineals with shells.
  2. Cochineals with hardened shells.
  3. Cotton mealybugs are the most common pest for different succulent types.

mealybugs on green succulent plants

How to address the white sticky stuff on succulents?

The best way is to treat the affected area with isopropyl alcohol. Use a swab to clean the infected area and then clean it with water.

The other way is to use high-pressure water to wash the plant. The powerful water current can easily remove the mealy bugs. The other way is to use a diluted solution of regular dishwashing soap. The soap solution helps break the waxy covering or the white sticky substance on succulents.


  • What is the white sticky stuff on a jade plant?

That is the common problem of fuzzy jade plants - mealybugs. Since these pests form cottony patches on the leaves, especially joints where the leaves are attached to the stems. And these formations are white in color. When the mealybugs feed in the plant sap, they secrete honeydew, a sticky substance that leads to a nasty infection of sooty mold. So, if you have been thinking, 'why is my jade plant sticky'? It is the mealybugs that are playing spoilsport.

  • What's eating my sedum leaves?

Your sedum houseplant can be attacked by birds or other four-legged animals like rabbits and deer. But, if you notice speckled marks making the plant look like a webby succulent, you can instantly know that it is mealybugs, ants, or aphids. You need to get in touch with an expert to deal with the problem immediately.

  • How to kill mealybugs?

If the rapidly growing mealybugs are a cause of concern for you, consider applying herbicides like triclopyr, dicamba, glyphosate to stop the infestation of the sedum. Small infestations can be removed manually.

  • Can caterpillars on succulents harm the plant?

Yes, caterpillars can harm your succulents. Caterpillars feed on newly-formed shoots and leaves. You can use specific insecticides or use the exact solutions to deal with the problem as mealybugs and cochineals.

  • Are the white fuzzies on your succulent mealybugs?

In most cases, the succulent with white fuzz is mealybug. It could also be a natural hair growth of the succulent, like in the case of fuzzy succulent varieties that bear tiny hairs all along the leaf surface. It gives the plant a velvety look. To be sure, you must seek advice from an expert botanist for clarity. If it is the growth of mealybugs, you need to address the issue immediately.

  • What is the common string of heart pests?

The most common pest for your string of heart houseplant is the mealybug. It could also be scales and aphids. You need to keep assessing your trailing succulents every week.

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