Ficus lyrata, or fiddle leaf figs, are occasionally attacked by insects or pests, yet whenever they are, they can be highly harmful to the plant. One might be curious as to why pests pick on the fiddle leaves and how to keep them at bay. We’ll learn about that.
Fiddle leaves are known to draw a variety of insects, including gnats, pillbugs, mealybugs, spider mites, and sometimes even butterflies—a few of these bugs like sucking on the plant’s sap. Pest infestations are frequently brought on by overwatering, excessive humidity, and poor air circulation.
The last thing you want to see is your healthy fiddle fig plant showing signs of pest infestation and mealybugs. These bugs are little white monsters that suck the sap of the plant cell and give off an awful white, chalky texture to the leaf.
With so many possible causes, identifying and treating the mealybug infestation can be exhausting. However, don’t worry because this post will cover how to spot the mealybug infestation and how to treat and prevent this issue.
Mealybugs on Fiddle Leaf Fig
Mealybugs are tiny white insects that survive upon houseplants in hot, humid climates such as California and Arizona and leave streaks of white powder everywhere on the Fiddle fig leaves. Additionally, they lay their eggs near the foliage and wherever the branches join the stem.
These little critters consume the leaf sap. If the invasion is severe, the leaves might become malformed and start to fade, wilt, and die away. They frequently favor young, delicate leaves, which stunt the plant’s growth.
Mealybugs are a particular species of scale bug without armor that belong to the Pseudococcidae genus.
Despite having a 1-month life span, these are notoriously tricky pests to eradicate. Mealybugs prefer to conceal themselves mainly on the bottom of Fiddle Foliage and will cram themselves and their clutches into any available crevice, especially near joints.
Some organisms make it even more challenging to identify themselves by hiding among the bases and the soil. The first telling sign is typically either a single mealybug or perhaps an ant trail.
Mealybugs expel a powdery, greasy covering that gives them their namesake and the appearance of small cotton puffs. Mealybugs, similar to Ficus pandurate, enjoy warm climates, which makes them a particular hazard to tropical plants in USA hardiness zones above 9.
The worst part is that a mature female Mealybug may produce a batch containing 500 eggs, allowing them to proliferate before you notice them quickly.
Issues Due to Mealybug Infestation
A mealybug’s initial and most apparent harm is eating sap from a plant by puncturing its veins. This will eventually cause foliage to wilt and turn yellow.
These bugs excrete a lot of honeydew, which poses a more severe problem.
In addition to drawing ants, which use the honeydew as food, honeydew can also draw other pests that will settle there.
The honeydew also will result in dark mold, which has an unpleasant appearance and several potential issues associated with it.
Your fiddle fig tree may not be capable of fighting off various illnesses with multiple sores left behind from mealybugs. It can cause another issue that can also occur due to mealybug infestation: root rot.
What is Root Rot?
Overwatering and poorly draining soil are the leading causes of root rot. Many normally healthy fiddle leaf figs have died due to the latter.
In most cases of root rot, fungi that coexist with plants in the soil are to blame for the illness.
As long as your plant is strong enough, the fungus remains typically dormant and doesn’t harm it.
If the houseplant is overwatered, it loses its ability to breathe, which enables the fungus to grow and strangle the plant by preventing the roots from taking in oxygen.
How To Remove the Root Rot?
The following are some methods for treating fiddle leaf figs that have root rot:
If root rot is above the earth, cut off the rotting portions of the root and apply some powdered fungicide to the cuts. You might have to throw away the entire plant if the rot is too severe to be removed.
To treat the fungus infection, reduce the frequency of watering. Before watering the plant, always perform a finger test to determine the moisture level. Please ensure the water doesn’t touch the plant’s stem or leaves when spraying it.
Repotting the fiddle leaf plant and starting over is advised. Remove as much soil as possible from the roots without hurting them. Throw out the diseased soil and clean the pot before using it again.
Spray a fungicide for houseplants on the fiddle leaf figs. Make sure to adhere to the directions as stated on the label. As often as necessary, repeat.
In the worst-case scenario, you might have to give up and start over if nothing else seems to be working. It’s possible that the fungus is at an advanced stage and cannot be treated.
To prevent this root rot and death of the plant, you need to get rid of the pesky white bugs that are harming the plant.
What Is Sooty Mold and How To Get Rid of It?
A black fungus called sooty mold forms on leaves with honeydew on them. Scale and other pests that feed on sap produce honeydew as a waste product.
Low humidity promotes the growth of sooty mold. It can ruin fiddle leaf plants by obstructing sunlight and preventing photosynthesis.
Fiddle leaf figs might grow more slowly and not reach their full potential if sooty mold is allowed to develop.
Eliminating the pests secreting honeydew on the leaves is the most excellent strategy to combat sooty mold.
Inspect the upper areas of growth and the areas beneath the leaves for bugs. The treatment technique determines the pests your fiddle leaf fig is home to.
Using essential oils, such as neem oil, is a potent treatment. In California, these oil-based compounds successfully suffocate bugs destroying your fiddle leaf figs.
The dirt can be applied straight to the leaves’ surface as a spray. In fact, neem oil can stop eggs from hatching.
Keep the plant out of direct sunlight after applying essential oils for pest control to avoid burning.
Use insecticidal soap as a different tactic to get rid of bugs. There are numerous DIY recipes available. But you may purchase them from an online retailer.
The soaps are perfect for getting rid of honeydew that scale and aphids have left behind, which stops the formation of sooty mold in its tracks.
Finally, employing insecticides may be preferable for infestations that are already advanced. Due to their toxicity to the plant, they should only be used as a last option.
However, correctly applying the pesticide should cure the issues without harming the plant.
Can Alcohol Be A Solution for Your Mealybugs Problem?
When you don’t have a sufficient supply of neem oil, you could use a 70% solution of isopropyl alcohol in a variety of methods, including:
To destroy mealybugs, dab them with a cotton ball that has been moistened in the alcohol.
The complete fiddle fig plant should be cleaned regularly, being sure to reach all the crevices and gaps. This method will also eliminate the hiding fungus and clear the dust layer.
For just a quick and straightforward spray alternative, combine water and wiping alcohol in 50-50 proportions in a spray bottle, and add some dish soap to it.
Resist overwatering since mealybugs can survive better than the plant’s roots.
Conclusion: Mealybugs on Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fortunately, finding a mealybug outbreak doesn’t imply the end for your prized fiddle fig; various solutions are available.
To prevent the infestation from propagating toward other plants, you should always start by quarantining any infected plants.
After this, carefully remove any infected leaves and dispose of them in an airtight container while disinfecting your instruments.
There are many natural solutions for mealybugs; one of the simplest ways to get rid of mealybugs is to bathe the plant gently.
The mealybugs could be eliminated with a homemade bug spray solution. Make sure the Fiddle leaf tree you have indoors is shielded from direct sunshine. To ensure that any recently hatched nymphs do not even live, repeat the process a few days after it has dried. Another excellent option would be a neem oil pesticide spray, which can easily be applied to the leaves using a sprayer.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.