Older individuals may have wax filaments around their body margins. Adult females lay eggs among the cottony egg sack of adult female mealybugs. Contact UC IPM, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, © 2019 Regents of the University of California Other insecticides, including pyrethroids, are also labeled for some situations but may not be much more effective than soaps and oils and can be devastating to natural enemies. Many mealybug species can reproduce asexually without mating. Mealybugs are in the insect family Pseudococcidae, part of the superfamily Coccoidea, which also includes armored scales, soft scales, and cottony cushion scale. Seen dorsally, they have an oval form; they are soft and covered with a fine waxy material. The Long-tailed mealybug breeds all year. Also keep ants out of mealybug-infested areas and plants because ants protect mealybugs from their natural enemies. Three hundred or more yellowish or orange eggs may be deposited by a single female. Females lay up to 500 eggs in a cottony egg sac attached to plants, fruit, bark or twigs. The Regents of the University of California. Mealybugs suck sap from plant phloem, reducing plant vigor, and they excrete sticky honeydew and wax, which reduces plant and fruit quality, especially when black sooty mold grows on the honeydew. Mealybugs quickly reproduce and can take over plants within days. The body of each mealybug is oval and about 1/4 inch long. In addition, insecticidal soaps can be very effective when combined with natural predators of the mealybug. Life cycle. /PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74174.html revised: Eggs, like the adults, are pink in color. On deciduous plants such as grapevines, mealybugs may overwinter on or under bark as eggs (within egg sacs) or as first-stage nymphs. Granular insecticides that you add to the soil of infested houseplants may be effective. Life cycle and appearance of Obscure mealybug. Citrus mealybug (Planococcus citri) is a major and frequent pest of many fruit and ornamentals throughout Australia. Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources 2008; Chong et al. All contents copyright © Similarly, syringing the plants with a forceful spray of lukewarm water may adequately dislodge a light pest infestation. RTP 0010. The sweet honeydew excreted by these sap feeders provides a substrate for the distracting black fungus called sooty mold. Prevent introduction of ground mealybugs and quickly dispose of infested plants before the pests can move onto clean plants. Adult females deposit 300-600 eggs within an excreted, compact, waxy cottony-appearing mass mostly found on the underside of leaves (these egg cases can be confused with downy mildew). Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs: An Integrated Pest Management Guide, 3rd edition. Produced by University of California Statewide IPM Program. Usually found in colonies, they are piercing-sucking insects closely related to soft scales but lack the scale covers. Mealybugs can build up in grapes, especially the vine mealybug, a new invader that attacks roots as well as aboveground parts, but the grape, obscure, and longtailed mealybugs also occur. A very tiny wasp that parasitizes mealybugs is also sometimes used to supplement control by the predators. Check pots, stakes, and other materials for mealybugs and their egg sacs and dispose of any infested items. The impact of the mealybug in Africa has been considerable. W ithout mating, they ar e known to r epr oduce partheno-genetically thr oughout the year. Eggs are laid in a sticky, foamy mass of wax threads, called an egg sac. On outdoor plants, cultural practices and biological control should be adequate for suppressing mealybugs in most situations. Life cycle and appearance of Citrus mealybug. If you find an infestation, physically remove the insects by handpicking or prune them out. UC ANR Publication 3359, Oakland, CA. The life cycle requires about 31 days at 81 degrees F and 45 days and 70 degrees F. Adults and young larvae prefer to feed on mealybug eggs, but the older larvae will feed on any mealybug stage. Natural enemies include a number of species of parasitic wasps that lay their eggs in or on developing mealybugs. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)})(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');ga('create', 'UA-46953310-1', 'auto');ga('require', 'displayfeatures');ga('send', 'pageview'); The mealybug destroyer can be purchased for augmentative release and is often released in greenhouses and interiorscapes or in citrus orchards after a cold winter has killed off native populations. Impact. However, male mealybugs do exhibit a radical change during their life cycle, changing from wingless, ovoid nymphs to wasp-like flying adults. Adult females of Planococcus citri are 2.5 - 4 mm long and 2 - 3 mm in breadth. There are at least 14 natural enemies of rhodesgrass mealybug, including predatory beetles and parasitoid flies The Long-tailed mealybug breeds all year. Godfrey, K. E., K. M. Daane, W. J. Bentley, R. J. Gill, and R. Malakar-Kuenen. Ground mealybugs are even more difficult to control than those that feed aboveground. However, the soft, segmented body is concealed by filaments of white wax that cover the insect. When releasing mealybug destroyers, focus on periods when there are many mealybug egg sacs, because the lady beetles require mealybug eggs as food to stimulate their own reproduction. Be aware that none of the available insecticides will likely provide complete control of all individuals, and that you will need to monitor and treat again as needed. Breeding and development, however, is year-round in the greenhouse. Many natural enemies feed on and kill mealybugs on fruit trees and woody ornamental plants in the landscape. The life cycle requires about 31 days at 81 degrees F and 45 days and 70 degrees F. Adults and young larvae prefer to feed on mealybug eggs, but the older larvae will feed on any mealybug stage. In northern Florida, there are five generations per year, while generations are continuous and overlapping in southern Florida. Look for parasite pupae within mealybug colonies, or emergence holes in mummified mealybugs. If mealybugs are somewhat exposed, it may be possible to reduce populations on sturdy plants with a high-pressure or forcible spray of water. Although older nymphs and adults have legs and can move, they don’t move very far or very rapidly. Avoid unnecessary applications of nitrogen fertilizer on plants with mealybugs. Mature females will lay up to 500 eggs in a single egg clutch. Houseplants are prone to a varied assortment of insect pest problems. (See chapters 37-42 for information on mealybugs on grapes). The filaments extend out from the periphery of the body and may be up to 1/2 inch long. Test the solution out on a small part of the plant 1 to 2 days beforehand to make sure it does not cause leaf burn (phytotoxicity). There are three to four generations depending upon locality and seasonal factors. Lightly infested plants may only be stunted, yellowed or malformed. There is little point in releasing them when mealybug numbers are low or when they are not reproducing. A few mealybug species feed on roots. Because adult females can’t fly and mealybugs can’t crawl very fast, they don’t rapidly disperse in the garden on their own. They look like small white puffs of cotton or fluffy deposits of white powder. You will need to repeat this procedure every week until the infestation is gone. However, one of the easiest to recognize is the mealybug. The most important species occurring in citrus are Citrus mealybug (Planococcus citri), Oleander mealybug (Paracoccus burnerae) and Long-tailed mealybug (Pseudococus longispinus) while the most important species occurring on grapevines is the Vine mealybug … The grape mealybug has two generations each year and overwinters as an egg or crawler in or near a white, cottony egg sac … Mealybugs are related to aphids and scale insects. Life Cycle: Mealybugs lay up to 600 small, yellow eggs in a protective cottony mass. As attractive as this option seems, it is unlikely to be practical for homeowners with a few, relatively small plants or with a limited infestation of mealybugs. The length of time of each life stage depends on temperature, being shorter at higher temperatures. There are three to four generations depending upon locality and seasonal factors. Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California 2019 If poked (not punctured), it will release a reddish orange defensive secretion. Nondiscrimination Statement. Ground mealybug infestations are most often reported on African violet and gardenias. These ladybugs, originally from Australia, are mass-produced by several companies in the U.S. During the summer all life stages are found on leaves and fruit, but when the weather becomes colder, the mealybugs move to more sheltered places such as under bark where they continue to … Males ar e very rar e and female mealybugs ar e commonly found causing the damage in the field. Typical Mealybug life cycle. The first stage of the nymph or crawler is called 1st instars and they are very hard to spot without a magnifying glass. Be sure to carefully examine the insect beneath the wax to identify it properly. 2015; Myers 1932). The adults can fly and cover large areas to search for food. Between April and May, purple-colored eggs are laid in egg-sacs consisting of a mass of wax threads, in the loose soil around (within 2–3 m radius) the infested mango trees. Mealybugs, such as these obscure mealybugs, are usually found in groups feeding in protected areas. Plants growing indoors or in greenhouses are especially vulnerable because year-round mild temperatures favor mealybug populations, and indoor plants are usually not exposed to the natural enemies that often keep mealybugs under control outdoors. The nym… Subscribe (RSS) Life Cycle: The life cycle of most species is similar with females laying 300 to 600 eggs in compact waxy sacs attached to axils of stems or leaves.After egg laying, females die and the eggs hatch in 7 to 10 days into tiny yellowish crawlers (nymphs). FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Mealybugs are often introduced into landscapes (and especially into indoor areas) on new plants or on tools or pots. 2015; Myers 1932), depending on temperature and species. Depending on species and environment, mealybugs may have two to six generations a year. Eggs:The pineapple mealybug is ovoviviparous and keeps the eggs in her body (Pandey and Johnson 2007). UC IPM Home > Acknowledgements The virus may reduce crop yields and fruit quality. The longtailed mealybug gives birth to live young rather than laying eggs. Hatching occurs within 1-3 weeks and the small active yellow nymphs begin migrating over the plant in search of feeding sites on which to settle. Insecticide sprays are available for mealybugs and other houseplant pests. Contact webmaster. Adult female mealybugs can lay between 100-200 or more eggs in a 10 to 20 day period. Picking off individual mealybugs and egg sacs or dabbing each one with an alcohol–soaked cotton swab may be satisfactory for lightly–infested plants. The pink hibiscus mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus, which currently is only established in Imperial County in California, has saliva that is especially toxic to plants. Products containing the systemic insecticide dinotefuran may reduce mealybug numbers on some landscape plants, and plant spikes or granules containing the related insecticide imidacloprid may reduce mealybug crawler numbers on houseplants. Breeding continues throughout the year in greenhouses, but takes place at a slower rate in winter. A dark stripe may be visible down its back. Some of the most common are scale insects and spider mites. The eggs hatch into tiny, immature mealybugs called nymphs that move about on the plant searching for a place to settle and eventually insert their beaks into the plant and begin sucking out the sap. Long-tailed mealybugs don’t lay eggs, but bear live young in a manner similar to aphids. Five parasitic wasps, Acerophagus notativentris, have emerged from the parasitized and mummified grape mealybug at right. Egg-laying is temperature dependent with fewer eggs laid at high temperatures. May be found on roots as well as aboveground. Since mealybugs (as well as all other Hemiptera) are hemimetabolous insects, they do not undergo complete metamorphosis in the true sense of the word. PDF: To display a PDF document, you may need to use a Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. The ladybug adults and larvae feed on the mealybug eggs and small nymphs. If your landscape or interiorscape has a history of serious mealybug problems, consider using only plant species that are not prone to mealybugs for at least a year or two to reduce mealybug density and harborage potential. Once she has mated, the female ladybug lays a cluster of five to 30 eggs. Like these, the mealybugs feed on the plant’s sap by extracting it through a long slender beak pierced into the plant tissue. Integrated Pest Management for Floriculture and Nurseries. Author: M. L. Flint, Extension Entomologist Emerita, Department of Entomology, UC Davis. For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. Eggs can take between 3 to 16 days (or longer) to hatch (Chong et al. AWRI ©2011. Mealybugs are favored by warm weather and thrive in areas without cold winters or on indoor plants. © 2019 Regents of the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. A specific ladybug called the mealybug destroyer is particularly effective. Short, equal-length waxy filaments around the body. Grape and obscure mealybugs lay yellow to orange eggs within an egg sac; longtailed mealybugs give birth to live crawlers. The adults can … The complete life cycle can take six weeks to two months depending on the species and the environmental conditions. The best approach to managing mealybugs is to choose plants known to be less prone to problems, inspect plants for mealybugs before bringing them onto your property, and rely on biological control and cultural practices to keep mealybug numbers in check. Naturally occurring predators of mealybugs include lady beetles, green and brown lacewings, spiders, minute pirate bugs, and larvae of predaceous midges. Life Cycles. Mealybug Management in Greenhouses and Interiorscapes (PDF). Adult female mealybugs can lay between 100-200 or more eggs in a 10 to 20 day period. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance. Two tail filaments that are longer than its body. Found beneath bark plates. Female mealybugs can feed throughout all life stages, whereas males often lose mouthparts and cease feeding by second and third instar. It does not tolerate cold winters, so it is more common in southern California and in coastal areas. Their use should be avoided when possible, especially on flowering plants, because of potential negative impacts on natural enemies and pollinators. Among houseplants, aglaonema, coleus, cactus, dracaena, ferns, ficus, hoya, jade, orchids, palms, philodendron, schefflera, poinsettia, and various herbs including rosemary and sage often have problems with aboveground mealybugs. For longtailed mealy bugs, the life cycle is only the crawler stage and adult, as female longtailed mealy bugs give birth to live young. Egg laying is continues for about 2 weeks with the female dying shortly after all eggs are laid. Nymphs molt through several instars before becoming adults. It has been recognized as a difficult-to-control pest in Europe since 1813 (where it is called the greenhouse mealybug) and in the United States since 1879 (Anonymous 2007). Toss out older “grandmother” plants that may be a source of infestation for new plants. Distinct filaments around the body, covered with powdery wax. The life cycle of Rhodesgrass mealybug ranges from 60–70 days. All or most life stages of the vine mealybug can be present year-round on a vine depending on the grape-growing region. After about 10 days, the egg sac hatches and the babies quickly spread out over the plant looking for feeding sites. Life cycle and appearance of long-tailed mealybug The long-tailed mealy bug is easily recognized by the long, posterior tail filaments, which are at least the length of the body itself. When infestations become severe, consider discarding houseplants rather than repeatedly treating them with insecticides. Richmond, CA. Common parasites (or "parasitoids") include species in the genera Coccophagus, Leptomastix, Allotropa, Pseudaphycus, and Acerophagus. Inspect any new plants thoroughly for mealybugs before installing them. Mealybugs start out as eggs and then move into larval and adult stages. The lady beetle can be reared in wide-mouth jars on mealybugs grown on sprouted potatoes or other hosts. There are probably at least three generations per year in Auckland. Some of the most common problem species are pictured and described in Table 1. Many types of perennial plants are affected by mealybugs. Biological control is often used to keep mealybug populations at low levels on large houseplants grown in malls and botanical centers. 2011. Figure 2 Longtailed Mealybug Mealybugs page 1 Pests and Diseases. Mealybugs. While adult females are wingless and similar in shape to nymphs, adult male mealybugs, which are rarely seen, are tiny two-winged insects with two long tail filaments.