Black MealyBug Predator

Exochomus nigromaculatus

Black MealyBug Predator

profile iconExochomus nigromaculatus (7736032304)
by Gilles San Martin (CC BY-SA 2.0)
1 of 3
A close up photograph of a mealybug predator on a plant Exochomus nigromaculatus
profile iconExochomus nigromaculatus (7736032304)
by Gilles San Martin (CC BY-SA 2.0)
1 of 3
A Black Mealy Bug Predator is a shiny, black beetle that belongs in the family of ladybeetles. It's a small beetle, measuring only 4mm when fully grown. Despite their names, these insects will feast on aphids, soft scale and cochineal insects as well as mealybugs. Ladybeetles will only be attracted to your green spaces if there is an abundance of food (aphids, mealy bugs, scale). This means, if you want an infestation taken care of naturally, it is best to hold off from using pesticides if you can (even delaying use by a month can help). This allows predator populations to grow large enough to control the pest populations. For obvious reasons, this can take some time!
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Traits

A top predatory insect for your garden that can help keep pest populations low.

Appearance

A Black Mealy Bug Predator looks like a shiny black beetle. They are probably one of the easiest to identify for this reason. There's a pale yellow patch on each side of the pronotum (segment following the head). Larvae: are highly segmented, with numerous spikes (tubercles). They tend to be mostly black, with pale pink-yellow-cream markings covering the length of the body. Like the ladybeetle, they have six legs too. The eggs are so small; gardeners often miss them. They tend to be bright yellow, oval, and attached firmly to the bottom of the leaves.

Symptoms

Both larval and adult stages of this insect are predatory, feeding solely on soft-bodied insects.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Coleoptera

Family

Coccinellidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Widespread across South Africa and dotted about Southern Europe.

Biological treatment

These insects are a cheap and natural form of biocontrol for aphids, whiteflies, scale insects and more. The best way to attract these into your green spaces is to steer clear of pesticides for as long as possible during the warm season. This is because ladybirds are highly attracted to the smell of their food (the pests!). It's only worth them travelling to your garden if there's going to be enough food there. So, if the infestation is too light, they won't bother. By holding off from using pesticides, pest populations may grow to become unsightly. But, with sufficient food supplies, you'll enable the ladybeetles to breed and multiply. Some patience is required. You can also incorporate insect hotels, indigenous flower patches and climbing plants. Pest populations can help to entice them in, nut you can keep them coming back if you provide refuges.

Chemical treatment

We do not recommend treating your garden plants for ladybeetles because they provide so many benefits.

Attracts

These lady beetles have extremely large appetites!
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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