As a child I remember loving this weird old 1950s science fiction movie "Fiend Without a Face". It was about oval shaped creatures that attached themselves to peoples' necks and sucked out their life force. Mealybugs are the fiends without a face of plants. They suck out the plant's life force.
In this blog post I will try and demystify these fiends without faces and give people information for dealing with this annoying pest.
What exactly are Mealybugs?
Mealybugs, also called "mealies" for short, are insects belonging to the family Pseudococcidae. They feed on plant juices. They have a straw-like mouth-part called a stylet they use to pierce plants in order to feast on their juices. I found this creepy video of a closeup of a mealybug piercing plastic wrap with its stylet to try and get at a plant. See here.
Mealybugs effect many different plants and cause serious damage. They get their name from the waxy secretions that coat and protect them. Mealies are related to other pests: scale and aphids.
Mealybugs make cottony white sticky nests where they lay their eggs. I took the following picture at the succulent house of a botanical garden which shall remain un-named. It shows adult and juvenile mealybugs and the nests: