>>Hey Guys – It’s Andrea with Sucs for You
in Houston, Texas>>See that? That’s a black carpenter ant – Camponotus
pennsylvanicus. They’re quite small but they can create big
problems because these ants farm mealybugs for their nectar, or honeydew, without killing
them. In fact, they protect them from other bugs. They deposit the mealies on delicious plants
like succulents and when they get nice and fat, the ants return to tickle or agitate
them, which causes the mealies to secrete the nectar.>>So ants like these are often the first
sign that mealybugs may be nearby.>>Since that ant was in a pot of my propagations
I’m going to have a closer look.>>This Fred Ives propagation seems to have
slowed its growth rate and I found mealies on it last fall, so I’m definitely going to
check it out. My larger Fred’s don’t get mealybugs so I’m
guessing the babies are just tastier.>>And there it is ladies and gentlemen – the
most obvious sign, and a fat buster at that. Just feasting on my Fred like an all-night
buffet.>>After you’ve kept succulents for a while,
I think your intuition becomes stronger when it comes to knowing when something just isn’t
right with a plant. One of its leaves may seem droopy or malformed,
it might not be growing as fast as it should, or it may just look unhappy.>>If you hear that someone else from a region
similar to yours is having a problem with pests, that is a great reminder for you to
run out and inspect your plants for the same problem. I do it all the time.>>Also, certain types of succulents are more
attractive to mealybugs, so you begin to learn which ones to keep a closer eye on.>>There are several ways to rid plants of
mealybugs but first, one more sign you may see before spotting the actual invaders.>>See that powdery or cottony stuff down
in the leaf axil? That is a mass of mealybug egg sacs. This is a pretty obvious sign once you know
what you’re looking at. I’m certain there are mealies on this plant.>>And there they are two little busters right
there…We’re going to come back and get these, but first we’re going to go take care of Fred.>>Now I’m a huge nature lover, but I have
no love for mealybugs. And this is a very special propagation to
me since I’ve kept it alive for over a year- a very crazy year climate-wise – and I’m not
going to let these punks destroy my efforts.>>I’m about to show you something a bit gross
and graphic. It is one of several methods of killing mealies,
especially the big suckers like this. Some are too small to squish, but this one
is impossible to miss.>>Choose your weapon. Take a long pointy thing of your choice, but
not too sharp or it will puncture your plant. A toothpick works. Used incense stick handles work. This is a plastic label stake and it will
work nicely.>>Then poke the dang bug. This is also a good way to tell if a bug is
a bug or just an innocent bit of perlite or other benign foreign object.>>Smaller mealies will turn yellowish and
sometimes reddish when squished. Bigger mealies may secrete nectar before getting
really grody when squished. This nectar is what ants crave and is also
responsible for developing into a fungus called ‘Sooty Mold’ which looks like black dust.>>If you don’t want to see what happens next,
close your eyes and count to ten and it will be over… for this mealybug that is!>>Luckily we don’t have macro vision so it
won’t look so nasty when you see this in person…>>This is an Echeveria subsessillis propagation
and it also has a mealybug on it. Yay :/ Another method for removing mealies
is to squirt them off with a solution of equal parts alcohol and water. If the bugs are too large however, they may
not die on the plant. This is why I recommend a water bath to remove
and drown any stragglers after this treatment.>>…and it’s still alive. Great. So on to the next method.>>Here’s a macro view of our little foe. You can see it is still moving like nothing
happened. But see how it looks yellowish now? The alcohol started breaking down that white,
waxy outer coating. Before I put this plant in the bath, I’m going
to squirt the mealy off the plant to make sure it’s gone.>>And it’s still moving. That is tenacity defined right there. It’s also why unpotting your plants is sometimes
the only way to fully treat them for mealybugs. They just keep going and going if you don’t
make sure they’re totally dead. Not half dead. All dead. Then they’ll keep coming back.>>This is a large glass jar filled with water. I can also add alcohol if this doesn’t do
this trick, but I’ve inspected these succulents closely and just want to make sure I didn’t
miss any super small mealies.>>I’m going to swirl them around several
times and let them soak for about 20 minutes, which should be long enough for any mealies
to drown. It’s important to repeat the process until
you’re sure the mealies are gone.>>As for getting rid of those pesky ants,
there are a few non-toxic methods you can try though none are guaranteed to work. Sorry.>>Things like sprinkling cinnamon in your
dirt and making traps with paper and Vaseline…an internet search for ant control will give
you more ideas to try and instructions.>>I honestly don’t mind them because they’re
not solely responsible for mealies showing up on my plants and they really do seem to
be the first warning sign that I should check on my succulents, particularly those I’ve
had mealy issues with in the past. What’s more likely is I unknowingly bought
some plants that had mealybugs and put them close enough to my other plants for them to
spread. So be sure you quarantine new plants and thoroughly
inspect them before placing them near your other plants.>>I get asked about another type of bug frequently
seen in, under, and around potted plants and I’m sure you’ve seen them too. They’re called Springtails – those super small
bugs that scatter when you pick up a pot. They eat tiny bits of decomposing organic
matter. Supposedly they can jump really far but they’re
so itty bitty, it’s hard to see where they go. They just disappear all of a sudden. They are annoying, yes, but harmless.>>After 20 minutes or so have passed, I’ll
rinse these bathing beauties in fresh water and let them dry on a towel, out of direct
sunlight, and far away from my other plants. I won’t repot them until they’re given the
all clear, but they’ll be fine unpotted for a few days or more.>>This is the first time I’ve seen mealybugs
on a cactus. That wooly coat is one of many forms mealybugs
take throughout their lifecycle, so keep an eye out for that.>>I just got this a few days ago so hopefully
I caught them before they wandered off to my other plants. I’m pretty sure I did.>>(Picture: Echinocereus reichenbachii)>>I’m just going to use tweezers to remove
these dudes. Then I’ll shower the whole cactus with the
hose until it is pest-free. Those white hairs to the right are actually
the beginning of a flower… I checked to make sure because it looks a
lot like an egg sac nest.>>Twenty minutes have past and this mealybug
has finally stopped moving. I’m going to guess that it’s dead, but I wouldn’t
be surprised if it has multiple lives.>>To recap:>>Some mealybug warning signs include:>>Tiny black ants around your plants,>>white cottony or powdery spots down in
your leaves,>>plants that have deformed leaves or stunted
growth,>>dusty or dirty patches that may be Sooty
Mold fungus caused by the mealybug secretions.>>Luckily, mealybugs aren’t usually a problem
year-round. Spring is probably the prime time for them
to make an appearance so be sure to watch for these signs and get all up in your succulents
business regularly to catch these pests before they cause any major damage to your plants.>>Well, I thank you for watching and I hope
this demo helps you save your succulents from mealybugs. Please like this video and subscribe to my
channel, and be sure to read the video descriptions for more information.