Alcohol kills mealybugs, scales, aphids, spider mites, white flies, slugs, and earwigs by acting as a surfactant, or wetting agent, that can penetrate an insect's waxy coat of armor and kill on contact with the body. Isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) works fine and is easy to find, but be sure it doesn't have additives. Ethanol (grain alcohol) seems to work best. Alcohol usually comes in 70 percent strength in stores (or 95 percent strength purchased commercially).
To make an insecticidal spray, mix equal parts 70 percent alcohol and water (or if using 95 percent alcohol, mix 1 part alcohol to 1-1/2 parts water). To kill mealybugs, dip a cotton swab or cotton ball into alcohol and wipe off the infestation.
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