Answer: Mealybugs are probably what you are seeing. They are 1/5 - 1/3 inch long, oval, flattened, and covered with white waxy powder and adorned with short, soft spines around their margins. They feed on stems, branches and leaves, often in axils and other protected sites. They also excrete honeydew that can attract ants to the plant. Mealybugs tend to congregate, resulting in a cottony appearance. Neem oil soap is a natural insecticide that will kill mealybugs on contact and then repel new arrivals for about 2 weeks. Pyrethrum is made from chrysanthemum blossoms and is quite effective especially when applied directly to the pest.
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