Why are mealybugs not easy to kill?
Mealybugs are the harmful pests for our plants. Normally they feed on plant sap. This sap is found in different parts of the plants such as roots, flowers, steams, branches and sometimes at the bottoms of stored fruit.
Mealybugs, once attached to the plant secrete a powdery wax layer. Few species of mealybug lay their eggs in the same waxy layer in quantities of 50–100, other species are born directly from the female Mealybugs. This wax layer is used for protection of Mealybugs and their eggs/newborns. Because of this waxy layer their name is “mealy” bug. This waxy layer makes the pest control against Mealybugs more difficult.
Mealybugs in the presence of ants can become a serious problem as the ants protect them from predators and parasites. Inturn Mealybugs provide sugar to the aunts to feed.
If you notice symbiotic relationships between Mealybugs and ants you need to control both for proper treatment.
Mealybug Treatment: Normally the water solution containing isopropyl alcohol (50% v/v) and sodium dodecyl sulfate (1% w/v) is found to be very effective in treatment of Mealybugs as Isopropyl alcohol dissolves the outer wax layer and sodium dodecyl sulfate kills the mealybugs themselves. Sodium dodecyl sulfate is commonly found in most of the household detergents.
Ant Treatment: There are multiple organic pesticides which can be used to eradicate ants from your plant. You can also use Diatomaceous earth for the ant treatment. Apply Diatomaceous earth around the stem of the plant. Small silica particles are present in Diatomaceous earth that gets trapped within the joints of ants and cause irritation and eventual death.