How do you recognize obscure mealybug?

Like other mealybug species all stage of obscure mealybugs are covered in white wax threads. The body is oval-shaped with short wax threads around and two long tail wax threads (approx. 2/3 body length). No length stripe is visible on the body, only obscurely visible horizontal stripes can be seen. The body colour underneath the wax is orange to pink. Eggs are yellow or orange coloured and lain in compact waxy masses. Eggs hatch after a couple of days to months.  

The male adult stage looks nothing like the female adult stage. Males spin an elongated cocoon of waxy threads and develop into winged, fairly fragile creatures. They only live for a few days in which they actively search for females to mate. 

Obscure mealybug damage and distribution

The obscure mealybug causes less damage than e.g. the citrus mealybug.Population development of mealybugs is less explosive and they spread more evenly across the plant instead of focussing on the plants fragile and important growing points. Besides growing points, obscure mealybugs can also settle on stems and just above the roots on the plant base. High population densities will result in plant withering due to the large of amount of plant sapsbeing extracted.In tomato this can evenresult in collapsing stems due to denseobscure mealybug populations. Obscure mealybugs distribute during the young stages in which they actively run across plants. Once they find a good settling point, they will stay there the rest of their lives. All stages produce honeydew which promotes fungus growth which in turn decreases photosynthesis.

  • Life cycle of the obscure mealybug

    50 - 100 eggs per female
    egg to adult in 6-8 weken
    four development stages
    Lifespan female: several months, male: 2-3 days
    Resting period during winter

  • Host plants of the obscure mealybug

    In floriculture and horticulture
    rose, passiflora

  • Egg cluster of the obscure mealybug

  • Obscure mealybug