PEST PROFILES: MEALYBUGS
picture of Mealybug eggs
Mealybug Eggs

Picture of Citrus Mealybugs
Citrus Mealybug

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Mealybugs

Description:
Ground mealybugs are white and 1/8 to 3/16 inch long. Ground mealybugs are covered with fine wax that can give the soil a bluish appearance. Foliage feeding mealybugs are covered in wooly white fuzz with distinct filaments; they range in size up to inch in length.

Damage:
The ground mealybug feeds on the roots of anemone, chrysanthemum, gladiolus, iris, and other plant species. Aerial mealybugs aggregate and are common on the undersides of leaves and where a leaf attaches to a stem. Damage is caused by mealybugs feeding, and injecting toxins or plant pathogens into host plants. Mealybugs also secrete honeydew. Mealybug feeding can cause premature leaf drop, dieback, and plant death.

Life cycle:
Generally, female mealybugs go through 4 developmental instars and may oviposit up to 600 eggs, usually in a cottony-like ovisac beneath her body. The eggs hatch in 6 to 14 days into "crawlers". They can survive only 1 day without feeding, and once they insert their stylets to feed they generally remain anchored permanently. The crawler stage is the most easily controlled stage.