Root mealybug

For the last several years I've had a problem with root mealybugs in my containers (I'm 99% sure that's what it is - there are white deposits on the plant roots and around the edges of the containers). I disposed of some affected plants and watered others that I didn't want to lose with insecticide, which I don't like doing but it didn't seem like I had any other option. However they are still present, and I'm wondering if anyone can give me advice, as there doesn't seem to be that much information out there (it seems to be another pest brought in from the tropics, from what I can gather). Is the only thing I can really do to dispose of all my plants? Also what is best to do with affected compost? Will the bugs and their eggs be killed by composting in a bin? Or is it safe to put it on open ground and they will be killed over the winter?




  • Where did you get the term root mealybugs from ?-have never heard of this pest and am not sure that white deposits on plant roots equates to a pest anyway

    I fear you have been googling and jumped to a conclusion

    The biggest pest in containers is the vine weevil grub-now could it be that?

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,826

    What you probalby have is a bad case of Root aphids. They cover themselves in a white waxy substance to protect against the moisture in the soil. They are very difficult to deal with and sadly this is one of those cases where you need to use a Systemic insecticide.

    Very annoying pests too.

  • zebrinazebrina Posts: 24

    The white deposit in root mealybug and root aphid both look similar to what I have, but having seen the little critters, I think you're right, they're root aphids not mealybugs. Thanks for that.

  • zebrinazebrina Posts: 24

    Photo here in case anyone's interested.

  • zebrinazebrina Posts: 24

    So any ideas about the best way to deal with compost that has been affected?

  • BerghillBerghill Posts: 2,826

    Microwave, steam sterilise, flame gun sterilise.

  • zebrinazebrina Posts: 24

    Actually, I managed to get a photo of one and it looks more like a mealybug than an aphid to me.



  • Yes, root mealybug does exist, I am sorry to say. It has infested my Streptocarpus collection badly enough for me to destroy it.Sadly, I have now found it in my Orchids too.They are resistant to Provado, I discovered, as I drenched them in it, & used fly spray at teh same time, sealed them & hte plant in a ziplock bag, and 24 hours later, they were still as happy as could be.Totally unphased!

    So, I have a disaster in my plant collection unless I can find an insecticide that DOES work.


  • Thanks, Berghill!

    Every little helps.

    I am hoping I have conquered them.

    I have boiled & microwaved every bit of compost and plant matter before disposoing of it, and will keep a very close eye on my plants from now on!

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