How to Get Rid of Mealybugs on Succulents [Causes & Remedies]

how to get rid of mealybugs on succulents

Wondering how to get rid of mealybugs on succulent plants? You have come to the right page!

Get rid of mealybugs on succulents by wiping down the leaves with either rubbing alcohol, a vinegar solution, a mild dish soap or neem oil as a natural alternative.

These crusty white critters are a sore sight for plant parents but there is no need to panic. As long as you take action quick enough your plants will survive a mealybug attack. Here is how.

What Causes Mealybugs on Succulents?

Mealybugs are white flat oval-shaped bugs that survive on the sap of plants. From afar and when the mealybugs are still young, it looks like your succulent is covered in a white dust – except the dust moves!

Unless you are regularly inspecting your succulents, mealybugs are hard to spot. They tend to crowd underneath leaves and since many succulents have such dense foliage, they are difficult to see.

Since they feed on plant sap, succulents are ideal breeding grounds. The extra moist leaves are a rich food source to them which is why they might be more common on succulents.

What Home Remedy Gets Rid of Mealy Bugs?

The good news is that mealybugs don’t always spell disaster. Although they are fast breeders and are not the easiest pest to spot, they don’t immediately kill your plant.

You probably already have solution to mealybugs standing in your cupboard. Below are 4 basic household items that can help you save your succulents from a mealybug infestation.

Will Dish Soap Kill Mealybugs?

A simple water and dish soap solution might be all you need to get rid of mealybugs. I recommend adding about a teaspoon of mild dish soap to a spray bottle filled with water. Shake the solution and spray directly on your succulent.

If you’re not sure whether your dish soap is mild enough, do a test on a single leaf. Let it sit for one day before spraying unto the rest of the plant. Repeat daily until all mealybugs have died off.

Will Vinegar & Water Kill Mealybugs?

Vinegar seems to be the answer to most household cleaning problems, including plant pests. Although they don’t actually kill the mealybug, they do stop the eggs from hatching.

Combine 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water in a spray bottle and spray unto your plant daily until the infestation stops. This ratio is important because you don’t want the solution to be too harsh on your plant.

Will Rubbing Alcohol Kill Mealybugs?

Rubbing alcohol not only cleans your wounds, it kills mealybugs. Soak a cotton wipe in rubbing alcohol and wipe each leaf of your succulent clean with it.

Be extra thorough with the parts underneath the leaves since that is where most mealybugs like to hang out. Continue until there are no white spots left on your plants and then spray it down with regular water to avoid dehydrating the leaves.

Will Neem Oil Kill Mealybugs?

Those that prefer natural and organic methods love using neem oil as an all-natural insect repellant. Just like vinegar, it doesn’t actually kill the mealybugs but stops them from breeding.

So, neem oil is more effective as a preventative method but you can use it as the second step after applying rubbing alcohol or dish soap. You can also spray it on surrounding plants to stop the mealybugs from spreading.

How Do You Keep Succulents Pest-Free?

You don’t even need to know what kills mealybugs on succulent plants when you already know how to prevent them. As always, I advice you to take precautionary measures to keep your plants safe and healthy.

Here are a few tips for how you can keep your indoor succulents free from pests.

  1. Isolate New Plants

Keep any new plants that you bought or pulled from the garden separated from your other indoor plants for at least 2 weeks. During this quarantine time you have a better chance of spotting any pests and preventing them from spreading to your other plants.

  1. Regularly Wipe Down Leaves

Wiping leaves should be as regular an activity as watering your plants. Not only does it help your plants absorb more sunlight but it also makes it more likely for you to notice any intruders.

  1. Spray Natural Insect Repellent

If you regularly leave the window open or spend a lot of time outdoors it is a good idea to spray insect repellent on indoor plants every month or so. You never know when a plant pest adheres itself to your clothing or blows in through the window.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Do You Get Rid of Pests on Succulents?

You first need to identify the type of pest to decide on the best way to get rid of them. Since succulents are generally stiffer plants, most can handle a thorough wiping down with a natural pesticide but spraying will also help to get into some of the tighter spots.

How Do You Control Mealybugs?

Mealybugs feed on the sap of plants which they get through making small cuts or feeding around damaged areas. That is why you should always check your plant for any rotting or damaged parts and cut it out.

How Does Rubbing Alcohol Get Rid of Mealy Bugs?

Rubbing alcohol kills mealybugs in two ways. Firstly, it is extremely drying and so essentially dehydrates the live mealybugs. Secondly, it stops the molting process which means that you are disrupting the breeding cycle. This will stop them from spreading.


The white dusty look of mealybugs is very unattractive but there is a good chance that your succulent will recover. All you have to do is apply a natural pesticide such as rubbing alcohol, dish soap, neem oil or vinegar to end their life cycle and stop the infestation from growing.

Mealybugs don’t mean the end of your succulents as long you keep wiping them down every once in a while. Just remember that seeing white is a sign to take action.

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