Mealy bugs

Short Tailed Mealy bug (Pseudococcus spp)
Citrus Mealy Bug (Panococcus citri)
Long Tailed Mealy Bug (Pseudococcus longispinus)
Vine Mealy Bug (Pseudococcus affinus)

Mealy bugs are insects which are covered with a white waxy powder. They feed in groups by puncturing the leaves and sucking out a meal of plant sap. They secrete honeydew that can lead to secondary disease infections such as sooty moulds. Males have a single pair of wings and fly to spread their populations. Mealy bugs are topical insects and feed on a variety of plants such as ornamentals, cut flowers, vines, citrus, tomatoes and peppers.

The increased adoption of integrated control in protected crops has resulted in mealy bugs becoming an important secondary pest. This is due to the fact that the use broad spectrum insecticides that had a side effect on mealybugs have been replaced by the use of more specific insecticides and biological controls.

Control strategies for mealy bug usually include more than control measure such as a generalist mealybug predator such as the Australian Ladybeetle (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) used in conjunction with a species specific parasite such as Anagyrus pseudococcus.

Several species of mealybug parasite are available as adult wasps, the choice of parasite to use will depend on the mealybug species and crop situation. These wasps are short lived as adults (1-3 days) and therefore local availability will also limit choice.

Biological controls

  • Cryptolaemus montrouzieri
  • Chrysoperla carnea
  • Anagyrus pseudococci, Leptomastix dactylopii, Coccidoxenoides perminutus
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