Do you have fuzzy little bits of fluff on your philodrendron or ficus? Are the lower leaves showing a shiny, sticky residue? Then you probably have mealy bugs! It seems that dry weather is ideal for the propagation of mealy. Mealy bugs are related to scale insects and produce the same sticky “honeydew”. They surround themselves and their young with a cottony white sac which protects them from predators and our insecticidal sprays. They live 30 to 90 days, and eggs are laid 200 to 300 at a time which makes them very prolific. To effectively eradicate these little critters, you must not only spray, but also wipe both sides of the leaves clean to remove the fluffy coats which protect the little pests. If you don’t have insecticidal soap, you can use one part alcohol to three parts water. Spray on, and wipe the leaves clean with a paper towel.
Just remember - cleaning the leaves is crucial….Good Luck!