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Q: What is wrong with my corn plant?

Q:  My corn plant is an indoor house plant and I have had it for years.  This past year, it has been doing poorly and I want to know what is wrong with it.

A:  After looking at the plant closely I discovered mealy bugs, which are a common house plant insect.  You will need to be diligent in scouting this pest as he is very small.  In fact, he is so small that he often goes undetected until his population becomes too large to ignore.  The best method of control might be to combine physical and chemical applications.  First, take a clean, damp paper towel and wipe off the infected area – that is the physical part.  Don’t be afraid of the insects, they won’t bite you.  Throw the paper towels in a plastic bag, tie them up and toss them out with the trash.  Purchase some horticulture oil and/or insecticidal soap and spray the plant thoroughly – apply to the underside of leaves, along the stems and deep into crevices.  Follow the directions on the label regarding reapplication.  You can find these products at any garden center.  They are extremely useful because they can be used on your indoor plants as well as those planted outside.