How do I control mealybugs on a houseplant?

FAQ
Question: 

How do I control mealybugs on a houseplant?

Answer: 

Mealybugs on houseplants are difficult to control.  Unless the plant is particularly valuable, it’s often best to throw away the infested plant before the insects spread to other houseplants.  The standard remedies for houseplant pests can be successful if done with diligence and persistence.  On lightly infested plants, pick off individual mealybugs and egg sacs or dab each one with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab.  It’s also helpful to syringe plants with a forceful spray of lukewarm water to dislodge the mealybugs from the infested plant. 

Mealybugs can also be controlled with insecticide sprays.  Use aerosol or hand pump spray products made just for houseplants.  These may contain any of several different ingredients, including insecticidal soaps, pyrethrin, neem, or a synthetic pyrethroid, such as permethrin, bifenthrin, or resmethrin.  Granular insecticides that you apply to the soil of infested houseplants may also be effective.  When using pesticides, carefully read and follow label directions. 

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