The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

By Nariz

Spain Es

Nasty little bugs!
Hi guys. I have a fuschia in a pot and wondered why the flowers kept dropping off while they were still in their prime. Today I looked closely at the plant and saw several tiny - 2mm - pale grey fuzzy-looking little critters nestling in the joints of the leaves surrounded by fine messy webs. They're flattish and look similar in size and shape to scale insects, but they're all clustered up together and there are obviously youngsters amongst the groups. Anyone know what they are and how I can get rid? Sorry no photo - they're just too small for my camera to pick up. Thanks guys.



Trouble is, Nariz, you're in Spain, and so have a different and much more varied range of bugs than we generally get here. If its in webbing, here that would be red spider mite, or caterpillars, similar. Not ringing any other bells, but I'm pretty sure the big gun of Provado Ultimate Bug Killer will work, although anything nestling inside a web is more protected from insecticides.

14 Oct, 2010


Agree with Bamboo difficult to be specific without a photo but your description sounds very much like mealy bugs to me.

If you search images for them you ll see they do make the fine messy webs you describe.

A common problem on houseplants too when they are mist sprayed and water remains in the leaf joints in a warm enviroment.A weak diluted spray of washing up liquid releases their grip and a bag below the plant allows capture and disposal without solution leeching back into soil.

14 Oct, 2010


Thanks, Bonkers. I'll Google mealy bugs and probably try your advice.
Bamboo, I think we get much the same problem beasties here as in UK - maybe there are more tropical varieties down south but here we get the same old munchie things intent upon devastating my garden!
Thanks guys.

15 Oct, 2010


An update to say thanks again, Bonkers. I googled them and they were, as you said, mealy bugs and they have since had a couple of dousings of weak washing-up liquid solution so, at the moment, are not feeling very well! ;o)

18 Oct, 2010


Hi Nariz,

you want to be slightly careful of using washing-up liquid in the garden - it's vital that you use a vegetable-based one (like Ecover in the UK for instance) because the petroleum surfactants used in most washing-up liquids will decimate all the useful bacteria in the soil and are not readily broken down in the environment either.

You can use a variety of other, "home-brewed" vegetable based sprays too, that act to smother Mealy Bugs as well as Aphids and other sap-sucking beasties.

There's a good article on Ecocharlie that includes some of these recipes:

I do like the idea of using the defences of one plant to protect another too!

18 Oct, 2010


Thanks Ilex, yes I use 'defence' plants like marigolds or nasturtiums among the veggies in the garden but this is the first time I've had 'beastie' troubles with pots on the balcony. I'm on the case!

19 Oct, 2010

How do I say thanks?

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