Citrophilus Mealybug

Pseudococcus calceolariae

Citrophilus Mealybug , Scarlet Mealybug , Currant Mealybug

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A close up of a Pseudococcus calceolariae Citrophilus mealybug with young and honeydew secretion
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Mealybugs are a sap-sucking insect which is oval in shape and covered in a layer of white waxy dust. They are a serious agricultural pest worldwide that can downgrade the quality of yield and spread disease through their feeding activity. They tend to live together in dense groups within protected parts of the host plant. 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 which can sometimes cause mould to develop. This mould may reduce the plants' ability to photosynthesize.

Traits

Large infestations may reduce plant vigour and limit growth.

Appearance

Gardeners most frequently see adult females. They are sessile, latching to the plants' surfaces when they locate a desirable site for feeding. They are oval-shaped, growing only 4mm big, and covered in white waxy dust. If squashed, you might notice they contain a red blood-like fluid as opposed to creamy-white. Nymphs are tiny, light brown and rarely seen by the gardener. Their jobs are to disperse far and wide to spread their population further. They are so small they are often transported by gusts of wind, and this may be dangerous in an orchard environment.

Symptoms

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. Sooty moulds that form can downgrade fruit quality in a commercial setting. Sooty mould may reduce the rate of photosynthesis, which can result in lower yields.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hemiptera

Family

Pseudococcidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

These insects first originated in Australia but are now present in Europe, America and Africa.

Biological treatment

Check all new plants coming into the growing area to reduce the opportunity of introducing pest to your other plants. By regularly checking plant leavest you can squash the bugs or remove them with fingers. These insects do more harm to commercial horticultural industries.

Chemical treatment

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. Please check with your local regulating body for guidance on active ingredients and their authorisation for use. Plants intended for eating should not be sprayed unless listed on the pesticide label.

Attracts

Many ornamental house plants and fruit trees.

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