I noticed that our kalamansi, and chili plants have insects that resemble waxy and fiber-like appearance on top of the leaves. I found out that these insects are called mealy bugs and that they suck the juices of house-plants and subtropical trees. In our case, they are actively gnawing at the juices of our kalamansi and chili plants to the point of drying out and dropping many of the plant leaves. Arrgghh.
"Mealybug females feed on plant sap, normally in roots or other crevices. They attach themselves to the plant and secrete a powdery wax layer (therefore the name mealybug) used for protection while they suck the plant juices. The males on the other hand, are short-lived as they do not feed at all as adults and only live to fertilize the females. Male citrus mealy bugs fly to the females and resemble fluffy gnats".
Mealy bugs are considered "serious" plant pests in the presence of their allies - the ants. "Ants protect them from predators and parasites. Ants help mealy bugs move around, transferring from one place to another. In exchange, mealy bugs produce certain sweet juices that serve as ant food. I know my plants are in danger because ants abound our backyard garden.
I recently discovered one environment friendly way to eradicate mealy bugs from my plants. I prepared a thick solution of my washing detergent allowing suds to form and which I liberally applied on the leaves of the plants. After an hour and using a syringe I rinsed the suds with clean water. It was quite laborious but heck, my plants need my help. The application should be repeated twice every three days. I am just on my first week and I am not sure how it is going to turn out. But I am confident everything's going to work out fine.
But hey, another suggestion to get rid of mealy bugs? See it here.