White insects on my Rhubarb

My rhubarb in June, considering it’s growing in a large container, was relatively healthy.

This was my Rhubarb in June
This was my Rhubarb in June

I proudly harvested a small crop of rhubarb in June and left the rest to grow.

Then, today disaster struck.

Rhubarb leaf with white bug
Rhubarb leaf with white bug

Today I noticed lots of white bugs had taken up residence in the crown of the rhubarb.

White bugs on rhubarb stalk
White bugs on rhubarb stalk

I consulted Mr Google

According to Rhubarb Central

Rhubarb Pests are usually not a common problem for the rhubarb gardener. Rhubarb is a hardy and resistant type of plant, and not bothered by many pests.

I discovered white bugs in the rhubarb crown and crawling up the stalk
I discovered white bugs in the rhubarb crown and crawling up the stalk

I think the white bugs are a member of the scale family, maybe mealy bug, so I’m going to treat my rhubarb by experimenting with the following methods.


Because the infestation is quite small at the moment I’m going to “spot” treat by dabbing alcohol, using a soft disposable cloth, directly on the insects and wiping them away as I do so.

Dishwashing Liquid

If this does not work I’m going to try the washing up liquid spray.
Dilute 50/50 with water. The theory is the soap suffocates the mealy bug.

I’m not sure if the above will work, but I will report back!

Any other suggestions as to the bugs identity and cures gratefully received!

7 thoughts on “White insects on my Rhubarb”

  1. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry!! Sorry! For one thing, you and a few others have shown me what healthy rhubarb plants one can grow in pots: so, Eha, get a crown or two!! Have heard of the dishwashing ‘trick’ & actually the alcohol one: which one do you use – a sip rubbed on ‘them’ and, hopefully, a reasonable sip to you 😀 !

    1. Hi Eha,
      I certainly had more than a sip or two at lunchtime, yesterday. Perhaps I should have breathed on the bugs! 😉 Good luck with your rhubarb, apparently should plant in spring. I was going to buy some more, but was told they only sell the crowns in spring. Maybe you can pick up a mature plant.

      Good luck 🙂

      1. Hi – but I am lucky there, am I not? It IS spring in Australia: am right in the middle of planting everything 🙂 !

  2. I’ve had similar problems, not with rhubarb I hasten to add, and I’ve sprayed with Jayes fluid, it seemed to do the trick. Perhaps the bugs didn’t like the smell!

    1. Hi RNP, thanks for the suggestion! Oil would make sense – not sure I can buy either locally so may try sunflower oil mixed with the washing up liquid in the meantime.
      That’s the trouble with living in the sticks

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