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Past Articles Library | Organic Pest Control | Mealybug



Mealybugs tend to congregate in large numbers, forming white cottony masses. Adult females are soft bodied and covered by white waxy fluff. Males are tiny two-winged insects that are rarely seen. Most females can move slowly and are about .05 to .2 inches long.



Females lay eggs in a cottony white mass. The eggs hatch in 10 days and "crawlers" wander away to feed on branches, twigs, or leaves, and to develop for another month or two. Depending on the species, host, and climate they may overwinter only as eggs, or as females, or as all stages. Most mealybugs have several generations a year.



Apple, citrus, and other tree fruit; avodado, grape, and potato; also ornamentals and tropical foliage plants.



Adults and nymphs suck plant juices on all parts of the plant, particularly new growth. Leaves wither and turn yellow, and fruit drops prematurely. Mealybugs excrete honeydew on leaves that supports the growth of sooty mold.



Mealybugs are difficult to control once they have had time to establish themselves. Spray with neem oil, or insecticidal soap frequently (every couple of weeks) until insect population declines. Then take control measures. Also use of mealybug destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri), a beneficial insect, may help reduce populations on citrus, grape and indoor plants.


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