How can I control mealybugs on my Japanese hollies?
First, make sure those are mealybugs on your Japanese hollies (Ilex crenata). Some species of scale insects resemble mealybugs, but they require different methods of control. If you've established that your pests are mealybugs, there is a relatively safe solution you can make at home that should work. Make a 50:50 solution of isopropyl alcohol and water in a 1.5 liter spray bottle. Add about 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Mix well. Spray to cover the mealybugs. The treatment may need to be repeated several times over the course of a few weeks to destroy eggs and emerging insects.
Take care, though, that the liquid dish soap not be too strong. A stronger concentration than that recommended can damage to foliage. If in doubt, try the spray on a few leaves not readily visible to see if the solution causes damage before covering the entire plant.
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