Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:15 am
Location: Tel-Aviv

What to do about these bugs on my kumkwat tree?

I've had this tree in a pot on a balcony in full sun for nearly a year now. It has blossomed and has fruit on the way, but the leaves are now starting to drop and I've been removing these big white bugs. I have no idea what they are or how to get rid of them. Have tried a regular bug spray and also soapy water but no luck.

There are also ants on the tree who seem to take a lot on interest in the bugs. Not sure whether they are eating them or farming them.

Any ideas much appreciated.



Greener Thumb
Posts: 1014
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:14 am
Location: SUSSEX

Hi Robin...I would hazard a guess that you have got some sort of Mealy Bug there.
There are is a huge amount of varieties of the little beasties....but they all sit there and suck the juice from the plant while putting a cotton wool looking screen around themselves.
The ants are after the suger syrup they extrude.

If there are not too many wipe them over with a rag dipped in Methylated spirits.
An apple a day.....keeps me in work.

User avatar
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

I agree with Jonathan. That's one of the nicest photos of a mealy bug that I've seen, in fact. :)

The mealy covering on the adults is waxy, much like the waxy coating on scale insects. That protects them from any kind of insecticide. Only the juveniles are susceptible to sprays. Even then, the sprays have to be applied repeatedly over a period of time.

The best way to kill the adults is to dip a q-tip in rubbing alcohol and then lightly touch it to each mealy bug. The rubbing alcohol will cut through the waxy coating and kill the mealy bug. If your plant is too large to make this treatment feasible, then you can just lightly rub them off with your fingers.

You won't get all the adults, but you'll probably get a lot of them. Afterward, you can spray the plant with a soap solution to get the juveniles. I like either Safer's Insecticidal Soap, or else a spray I make myself with Dr Bronner's soap.

The two treatments have to be repeated every 5 to 7 days, for a total of about 5 times.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:15 am
Location: Tel-Aviv

Thanks very much for these replies - much appreciated. I've treated the bugs with alcohol and sprayed the tree. Will repeat as instructed.


Return to “FRUIT FORUM”