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by mari

Hi. Would you have any organic pesticide prevention method especially for mealy bugs and snails? I have a lot of succulents in my greenhouse and some are planted in the ground. I just want to be proactive to prevent this from happening. Also, how often do I do this recommended prevention and if it comes in a spray bottle, do I need to put the plants in a shady area while it dries up? Thank you!

Hi Mari, I’ve just started doing some tests with diatomaceous earth, and the results are promising. I have found that it’s a bit unsightly until the rain washes it off, but effective on aphids and many other pests. I’m not sure how it would work on mealy bugs.

I have used sprays that have varying results on mealy bugs; the most effective ones seem to be insecticidal soap, mixed to the directions on the bottle, with the addition of about 1/2 cup of isopropyl alcohol per one quart of spray.

This cuts through the waxy, fluffy coating of the adults, and they dry out pretty quickly. Keep in mind that the adult males fly, and the young crawl, and the eggs will hatch out regardless of the spray you use.

This means that you must be vigilant forever; the moment you see more, start spraying again.

I was surprised that the succulents don’t seem to be bothered at all by the alcohol, which I thought would dry them out.

In hot bright areas, I would do this in the shade, or at least in the evening to allow time to dry off before the sun hits the droplets.

For slugs and snails, one sure fire method of getting rid of them is to use a lava rock or pumice mulch. They don’t like the sharp material, and it looks nice too; a win/win situation.

I also find that if you move your planters around, sometimes you’ll see slugs or snails hiding in the drain holes; put the pots up on some kind of spacer (bits of tile, rocks or special feet that allow air movement) or bait the growing area (near your pots, or in the garden) with a board covering up a plate of damp material to attract them; in the morning, just tip them into a bucket of salted water, or find a neighbor with ducks.

All molluscs (slugs and snails) are also partial to a saucer of beer or other alcoholic beverage, which can be tipped out into your compost, or buried in the garden when it’s done its job.

Happy Succulent Gardening!