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Jack Beardsley mealybug

  • Jack Beardsley mealybug
    Jack Beardsley mealybug

General information

Jack Beardsley mealybugs pose a significant threat to a range of Australian horticultural industries. The Jack Beardsley mealybug is known to affect 48 host varieties including citrus, capsicum, banana, tomato, orchids, pepper and hibiscus plants. It is important to limit the spread of Jack Beardsley mealybug from the Torres Strait and Cape York Peninsula. It is also known as short-tailed mealybug.

Scientific name

Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi

Description 

Soft oval-bodied insects. They:

  • are 1–3 mm in size
  • are grey or pinkish in colour, and appear to be dusted in flour
  • have 4 long filaments at the tip of their abdomen
  • have 36 leg-like filaments around the perimeter of the body.
Life history
  • 300–600 eggs are laid in a waxy sac.
  • The eggs hatch in approximately 10 days.
  • Soon after egg production, the female adult dies.
Distribution

The Torres Strait Islands and the Cape York Peninsula are the areas where the Jack Beardsley mealybug has been located.

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

It is important to limit the spread to the Torres Strait Islands and the Cape York Peninsula.

Host range

Tomato, potato, banana, orchids and hibiscus.

Damage

48 host varieties are affected by Jack Beardsley mealybugs including citrus, capsicum, banana, tomato, potato, orchids, pepper and hibiscus plants.

Symptoms include:

  • honeydew or sooty mould
  • wilting leaves
  • white dusty reside
  • dead leaves or branched.

If Jack Beardsley mealybugs should become established on the mainland there is a high potential for colonisation, resulting in economic problems for growers.

Control options

Both home gardeners and commercial growers should be on the lookout for cryptic mealybugs. If you think you have found plants damaged by the pest, report it immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

To prevent the spread of Jack Beardsley 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.

Quarantine restrictions

Biosecurity Queensland and the Australian Government's Northern Australian Quarantine Strategy (NAQS) have strict regulations in place to prevent the movement of risk materials between, and out of, their respective quarantine zones in the Torres Strait and on the Queensland mainland.

Last updated 03 September 2012