Yes, those are mealy bugs. Generally they are very easy to deal with, particularly when they are located where they are in this photo. A little alcohol on a cotton swab will wipe them right off.
But that begs the question. Where did this large critter come from out here on the end of the leaf? There are a couple of smaller ones with him (it?)–in fact this whole plant was infested at one point. That’s how I caught these guys so quickly. I was watching for more.
You see, not only do mealies have a nasty habit of hiding in the crevices of plants–places like unfurling leaves and stem/leaf junctions–but their eggs can also live in the soil for more than 2 years.
That’s probably how so many of them sneak into our homes to begin with.
And that again is how we know Stephen King doesn’t garden. Eggs that lay dormant for over 2 years and then become a full-fledged infestation? Sounds like a horror movie to me!
I have unfond memories of going through boxes of cotton swabs and alcohol wipes during the years that I grew orchids. The only saving grace is that most orchid foliage is large and substantial enough to make wiping-down somewhat easier but oh, those crevices and nodes!
Oh goodness. I have been blessed with my orchids. It’s my ficus and my citrus that generally seem to be problematic. Luckily this ficus is large leafed without too many issues. I did do an overall insecticidal soap spray when they first appeared because there were so many. Now it’s just vigilance and maintenance.
I think that a log of horror movies and science fiction comes from horticulture. ‘Alien’ is just like those parasitic wasps that develop within their hosts, and eat the from the inside out.
I knew that I gave up horror as a genre for a reason! I’d never garden again if I started seeing all those parallels. Ugh!