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How to recognize mealybugs

Mealybugs are fairly common. Their body is covered with a layer of white waxy filaments, which explains their name. You can find them on many different plant species, both in floriculture and horticulture. What we call mealybugs are in fact many different species. They all share a body that is covered in white, waxy filaments, but differ in length of (tail)filaments, stripe pattern on their back and body colour. Most species deposit up to hundreds of eggs in a white mass of wax filaments. Fortunately only a small part of these eggs will develop into adult mealybugs. A single species of mealybug does not produce an egg mass, but is viviparous, which means that the eggs hatch within the female. For some species mating is essential prior to oviposition. Male mealybugs are very different in appearance from female mealybugs: they are much smaller and have wings. They only live a few days and within that time they have to find a female to mate with.

To be able to choose the most effective natural enemy to control mealybugs it is essential to know which mealybug species is present.

Langstaartwolluis - Pseudococcus longispinus - female
A female long-tailed mealybug
Langstaartwolluis - Pseudococcus longispinus - male
A male long-tailed mealybug

Damage by mealybugs

Mealybugs are a nuisance especially in tropical ornamental crops, but they can also be harmful to vegetable crops. Mealybugs are sap-sucking insects. This causes cosmetic damage, stunted plant growth and leaf malformations. In extreme cases mealybugs take up to much plant sap that entire plant stems die off and fail to produce fruits.

All species of mealybug produce a sticky substance called honeydew, which causes the plants to become sticky. The honeydew enables black sooty molds to grow, which hinder photosynthesis and are therefore indirectly harmful to the plant.

Common mealybug species

Citrus mealybug
Long-tailed mealybug
Obscure mealybug
Solanum mealybug

How to control mealybugs

At first glance it seems relatively easy to recognize mealybugs. They are very persistent and produce honeydew. Closer inspection reveals differences between the species. These differences are important in the biological control of mealybugs. Especially if you want to use parasitoids. We produce several species of parasitoids, of which most are specialized. This means that they will parasitize only one species of mealybug and ignore the rest.

Another option for the biological control of mealybugs is the predatory beetle CRYPTOLAEMUS MONTROUZIERI. This predatory beetle preys on several mealybug species. It is a good biocontrol agent for control of local outbreaks of the pest, especially if you manage to release them next to hot spots of infestation. However, in several situations it may be rather convenient to use a control agent that is a excellent searcher for pest presence in the crop. This is where parasitoids perform much better than predatory beetles.

On our website we describe a few of the most common mealybug species, including pictures. We offer specialized parasitoids against these most common species. Depending on the situation and the pest density we advise either one specialist biocontrol agent or a combination of several biological control agents.

Predatory beetle CRYPTOS - Cryptolaemus montrouzieri larva
Cryptolaemus larva: an effective biological control agent of all mealybug species

Our products against mealybugs

CRYPTOLAEMUS MONTROUZIERI

Effective against
- All mealybug species

ANAGYRUS PSEUDOCOCCI 

Effective against
- Citrus mealybug

APONIX-Leptomastix-epona-150x150

LEPTOMASTIX EPONA

Effective against
- Solanum mealybug
- Obscure mealybug

LEPTOMASTIDEA ABNORMIS

Effective against
- Citrus mealybug

ANAGYRUS FUSCIVENTRIS

Effective against
- Long-tailed mealybug

ACEROPHAGUS MACULIPENNIS 

Effective against
- Obscure mealybug

LEPTOMASTIX DACTYLOPII

Effective against
- Citrus mealybug

LONGIX Ca - Cryptanusia aureiscutellum

CRYPTANUSIA AUREISCUTELLUM

Effective against
- Long-tailed mealybug