Keep Mealybugs From Harming Your Hydrangeas With A Popular Kitchen Ingredient

Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects that are generally slightly larger than 1 centimeter in size and can look like tiny white dots. While mealybugs are small, they can create big problems for your hydrangeas and other plants. These pests will drink the sap from the leaves of your shrubs, which can make it easier for disease to affect the plant. When large numbers of mealybugs are present, they may kill your hydrangeas. Luckily, vinegar can eliminate these pests and is safe to use on hydrangeas.

If you're unsure if mealybugs are what's harming your plants, check to see if the leaves of your hydrangea are wilted or yellow. The presence of a sticky liquid, known as honeydew, on the stem or leaves of the plant is another indication of a mealybug infestation. Sooty mold can also begin to grow where the honeydew is left by the insect. By spraying your hydrangeas with a mixture of vinegar and water, you can get rid of these nasty pests. 

How to use vinegar to eliminate mealybugs

To remove the mealybugs harming your hydrangeas, start by combining one part vinegar with three parts water in a spray bottle. Both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar will be effective in killing these pests. It's important to dilute the acidic cleaner to ensure it won't damage the leaves of your plant. If you spray straight vinegar onto your hydrangeas, it could scorch the leaves.

While vinegar is sometimes used as a herbicide, a diluted solution shouldn't harm your hydrangeas. These shrubs tend to prefer soil that's more acidic, so using vinegar to eliminate pests is safer for this type of plant. Make sure to spray small amounts of the vinegar and water onto the plant and repeat a few times every week to get rid of the mealybugs. If you're worried the vinegar will harm the leaves of your hydrangeas, try adding more water to your homemade pesticide.

Why vinegar is effective for mealybug control

Because vinegar contains acetic acid, it can remove the waxy coating that protects mealybugs' bodies. Vinegar also disrupts the insect's molting process, which will prevent the bug from entering the next stage of its life cycle. While some mealybugs will continue living for a while after being sprayed with vinegar, the weaker or younger insects will die more quickly. Though vinegar will not instantly kill all the mealybugs, it will wipe them out over time.

The amount of vinegar in the solution can be increased if the pests keep sticking around your hydrangeas, though it's crucial not to use too much as this could hurt the plant as well. Once the vinegar has killed off the pests, continuing to treat your shrubs with the spray once a week can help prevent the insects from returning. With just a little vinegar and water, you may be able to remove mealybugs from your hydrangeas without chemical pesticides.