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Mealybugs are a little sap-sucking insect, that is yellow in colour with a brownish dorsal stripe, covered by white waxy dust. Tend to affect glasshouse plants or houseplants as they require warm temperatures to survive. They tend to live together in dense groups within protected parts of plants. As they suck large amounts of sap from plants, to gain sufficient nutrition, they produce a sticky sugary substance, called honeydew. This honeydew falls on to the leaves below infestation and a grey mould called Sooty mould may develop. This mould may reduce the plants' ability to photosynthesize.
Large infestations may reduce plant vigour and limit growth.
Activity is reliant on temperature but can be year-round. Summertime is often when infestations are greatest. Adult Citrus Mealybugs are about 3 mm to 4 mm in length. They are grey in colour with a white dusty wax covering to the body. There are many generations in a year if conditions are continuously warm. Tiny eggs are laid in clusters and are covered with the same white dusty wax as the adult. The nymph stage of the Mealybug development looks like a mini version of the adult.
Small patches of the white dusty wax are found on the plant, at leaf joints, the underside of leaves on the edge of the main vein or other tucked-away areas. A sticky substance may also be found on the top side of the lower plant leaves, known as Honeydew. Ultimately a grey mould called Sooty mould may develop on the Honeydew, which may affect the plants' ability to photosynthesize and reduce plant growth. As Mealybugs are a sap-sucking insect, they could be potential vectors of diseases.
Check all new plants coming into the growing area to reduce the opportunity of introducing pest to your other plants. Regularly checking plant leaves and squashing the bugs or removing them with fingers. Biological control Crytolaemus montrouzieri (a specific ladybird) can be purchased online. Need to be used in an environment such as a sealed glasshouse or they may leave if windows or doors are open.
Few chemical controls are suitable because of the dusty wax covering the Mealybugs, most chemicals are repelled. Please check with your local Garden Centre for up to date chemical availability.
Many ornamental House plants and Citrus plants