I was debating whether to post this in the Pests forum or here. I decided to post here because the majority of my plant collection is cactuses and other succulents.
I've been battling a case of mealybugs over the last while. I believe they came from a new Calathea I'd purchased. The plant was quarantined for a few weeks, given new soil and a new pot before being moved to the rest of the collection, but I found a couple mealybugs on it around a week later. Since then, the plant went back into quarantine and I was treating it with diluted 70% isopropyl alcohol (q-tip swabbing any live bugs found, then thoroughly spraying the plant). I did this multiple times, including a few precautionary sprays. So far, the plant is at about 2 weeks bug-free.
Getting to succulents: in the time I'd missed the mealys on the Calathea, they had spread to two nearby cactuses. I only spotted two bugs on one, and a single cotton spot on the other. I isolated these plants and followed a similar treatment routine. They're currently still isolated and monitored daily, but I havent found any bugs on them lately either. They also received precautionary treatments. The two cactuses are also approaching two weeks bug-free. I intend to keep the three plants in isolation for a few more weeks as a precaution.
I found one more cactus with a couple juvenile mealys on it yesterday. This one was originally near the previously mentioned plants, and had since been moved to another location where it's been alone. I hadn't found anything on it till yesterday. I'm hoping given it's been alone, that nothing spread to anyone else. I moved it from that location to further isolate it for treatment. I've been inspecting all my plants regularly since the Calathea infestation, and other than this cactus, so far so good. Everything in the area of the previously infested plants were disinfected as a precaution as well (the shelf and windowsill they were sitting on, the window itself, and nearby objects).
Here's my current situation and question: This is the first mealy situation I've ever had to deal with. The isopropyl treatments seem to be working well, and I've had no damage to the plants as a result of the treatments. Unfortunately, my isopropyl alcohol supply is beginning to run low, and with the pandemic, I've been unable to find it anywhere. I was hoping to give all my plants a few precautionary treatments in case anything else might be sneaking around. Any suggestions for a succulent-safe treatment other than the isopropyl?
I do keep a bottle of insect treatment on hand at all times in case of problems. I haven't had to use it before though. It's active ingredients are as follows:
"Potassium Salts of Fatty Acids 1%, Pyrethrins 0.01%"
I would apply a small test spot to each plant before spraying, but I was wondering if anyone knew if this would generally be safe as a precautionary treatment on the plants, or if there's something else I should use?
(Also, lesson learned, I'll be increasing the length of time new plants are quararantined from now on)