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Cryptic mealybug

  • Cryptic mealybug
    Cryptic mealybug

General information

Cryptic mealybugs can infest 42 host varieties, including citrus, mango, avocado, banana, guava plants and palm trees. This pest has been reported to cause severe damage to citrus plantations. It is also known as citrus mealybug.

Scientific name

Pseudococcus cryptus

Description

Soft, oval-bodied insects that are pale yellow to greenish yellow in colour, with a thick wax covering the entire body. They:

  • are 1–3 mm in size
  • have piercing mouthparts that they insert into the plant.
Life history

Yellowish eggs are laid in an egg sac resembling a white cottony mass, behind the female. Females can lay between 300–600 eggs, which take 3 to 6 days to hatch, depending on temperature. Male cryptic mealybugs live for 2 to 4 days after pupation. Adult females live for an average of 87.6 days as adults.

Distribution

Cryptic mealybug is found in parts of Asia.

In Queensland, cryptic mealybugs have been found on islands in the Torres Strait and at a number of places in North Queensland, including Cairns.

Wind is a major factor in the spread of cryptic mealybugs, as well as the transportation of contaminated fruit and plant material.

Host range

Avocado, banana, citrus, coconut, coffee, mango, passionfruit, pineapple and ornamental plants.

Damage

Mealybugs are pests of economic importance for a wide range of hosts (see hosts listed above). They can cause damage to crops, making the crop unsuitable for market.

Symptoms include:

  • leaf distortion
  • twisting shoots
  • white residue
  • sooty mould fungus
Control options

To prevent the spread of mealybugs, you should:

  • always use clean planting material
  • avoid sharing machinery and equipment with other gardeners unless it has been correctly cleaned down
  • practice good hygiene measures by ensuring shoes, clothing, equipment (including cutting tools), machinery and vehicles are clean and free of soil and plant material before and after use.