Very small, oval-shaped white bugs. Egg sacs appear as a white, waxy fuzz along the stems and crotches of branches.
Where they live
Across the United States.
Their life cycle
A mealybug produces a new generation about every 30 days. Each egg sac may contain as many as 600 eggs.
Plants they attack
The mealybug is related to another houseplant pest called scale, and both thrive on a wide variety of indoor and outdoor species, including ficus, philodendron, coleus, fuchsia, begonia, citrus, fern, dracaena, ivy, and poinsettia.
Why they're a problem
They feed by sucking plant sap, which weakens the plant and causes leaf drop. They also excrete copious amounts of sticky "honeydew," leading to the growth of sooty mold.
Organic damage control
Photo: Florida Division of Plant Industry Archive, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org