Mealybug Infestation? Killing Mealybugs With Rubbing Alcohol

There’s no denying that mealybugs are a pest! Much like cockroaches, these disgusting little critters are capable of living in almost every climate and are therefore found all around the world. You’d have to move to Siberia or Antarctica to escape them. 

Thankfully, they’re a lot easier to kill than cockroaches! Before you hire an expensive pest control unit to come and bomb your house, I want to recommend one of the easiest, simplest, and cheapest ways to get rid of them.

So can you kill mealybugs with rubbing alcohol? For most small to moderate infestations, you can kill mealybugs with rubbing alcohol. Although the bugs’ hard scales allow them to survive a lot, rubbing alcohol is able to dissolve through their protective barrier and kill them in a matter of seconds!

Killing Mealybugs With Rubbing Alcohol

Although mealybugs can live in almost any climate, they thrive in warm, moist climates. If you live in the American south, chances are that you’ve already got some in your yard or in your home. In today’s article, I’m going to talk about how you can easily kill them using alcohol and what to do if they get out of hand. Let’s take a look! 

Killing Mealybugs With Rubbing Alcohol

At first glance, mealybugs look a lot like baby cockroaches with one exception- they’re silver. This silver-white coating is actually their sweat and is what has earned them the name mealybugs. They look like small bugs that somebody dropped in a bag of flour or meal

When most people see these little bugs, they don’t think much of them. As disgusting as they look, they’re small, don’t directly harm humans, and look relatively harmless. However, their excrement is a strong contributor to fungus such as mold.

 If you’re already experiencing mold and fungus problems in your home, read how rubbing alcohol kills mold. By buying a bottle of isopropyl rubbing alcohol, you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone! 

Have you ever heard of the phrase- Where there’s smoke, there’s fire?

Well, when it comes to pesky mealybugs, this is almost always the case. These aren’t usually the type of bugs who just pop in for an afternoon snack and make their way back out into the wild. Once they come into your home or into your garden, they fully intend on staying

Within a few weeks, a few mealybugs can easily turn into hundreds and even thousands. This means that it’s imperative to treat them early while there’s still time before they get out of hand and turn into a full-blown infestation! 

Rubbing alcohol also works similarly to kill lice

If you want to kill a lot of them at a time, I recommend spraying them (a lot). Fill a big spray bottle up with the strongest isopropyl rubbing alcohol that you can find and douse them in it. I usually prefer using a 90% concentration, but 70% will work fine if you can’t find anything stronger.

Another thing to keep in mind is that they’re not always on the surface. Like other infestations, what you see on the surface is just the tip of the iceberg. This means that you might have to pull up some panels, move some furniture around, clean out your cabinets, etc. to find all of the random places that they like to hide. 

The more of them that you can kill at once the better. Since they’re able to reproduce incredibly fast, it’s in your best interest to kill them quickly before they’re able to replicate. Unfortunately, alcohol will not kill them while they’re in the egg or larvae stage, so you’ll have to wait until they grow to maturity to kill off the next generation. 

If you just want to get rid of a few of them, then there’s no need to waste a bunch of alcohol. Just soak a cotton ball or paper towel in your alcohol solution and wipe them away. Since the alcohol kills them in just a few seconds, they’ll be dead by the time you throw the cloth in the trash. 

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Can You Spray Plants With Alcohol?

Although mealybugs will often make their home inside your house, their primary food source comes from plants and trees. As a “sapsucking” bug, they feed on the juicy sap of broadleaf plants and sap-producing trees. This is another reason why insurance companies charge more to insure homes that have a lot of trees nearby (and why you won’t find mealybugs in most apartments). 

That being said, there are few places that a mealybug loves more than your garden. The most common place you’ll find them congregating is almost always on your flowers, herbs, and bushes. As they eat the sap, they produce a sweet, sticky fluid, that also attracts ants. 

It might strike you that one of the best ways to kill a bunch of them at a time is to spray them while they’re feeding on your plants. However, you need to be careful about this. Alcohol can severely damage or kill plants. 

Before you douse your entire plant in alcohol, test it out by rubbing alcohol on a single leaf. If it’s still alive a couple of days later, then you should be fine to spray the plant with a light mist. If not, then the leaf will be dead or yellowed a couple of days later. 

Keep in mind that if you do spray your plants with alcohol, make sure to spray them with a lot of water a couple of minutes later in order to minimize the damage to the plant! 

What Should I Do If Mealybugs Come Back? 

Unfortunately, once you have a mealybug infestation, they can be hard to get rid of. If you’re lucky and you catch them early enough, then killing mealybugs with alcohol is usually effective. However, if they keep coming back, then you’ll likely need to hire a professional pest control company to take care of the problem.