Scale insects (Pseudococcidae) – the general name of the equally winged insects of the coccid suborder, uniting representatives of the family of lamellar, giant, steam-ferruginous and mealybugs, as well as felt insects – they are close relatives of the scale insect. These pests affect citrus fruits, amaryllis, azaleas, asparagus, cacti, lemons, palms, fuchsias, grapes, camellia, cissus, gerbera, oleander, philodendron, anthurium, monstera, hibiscus, Kalanchoe, cactus. They settle on shoots, stems, leaves, ovaries and fruits of plants, significantly slowing down their growth and development. Methods of dealing with mealybugs are in our publication.
Pseudococcidae (Pseudococcidae). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Edwin M Escobar
What do mealybugs look like?
Mealybugs or, as they are popularly called, hairy lice, – sucking insects, clearly visible to the naked eye. They got their name from the white, cotton-like waxy discharge. Larvae and adult females suck young shoots, leaves, buds. They greatly retard the growth of plants. A common citrus mealybug also affects the root system.
Insects are very mobile and move well at almost any age, covered with a powdery wax coating of white color, often with wax plates along the edge. Sizes 3-6 (0,5-12) mm, depending on the type.
Sexual dimorphism is pronounced (when individuals of the same species have two forms that differ in physiological characteristics). Males have wings (usually the first pair), limbs are normally developed, abdomen with two tail filaments. There is no oral apparatus (males do not feed in adulthood).
In a number of species, the legs are reduced or absent. Sucking oral apparatus. Most insects lay eggs; in some species, females are viviparous. The eggs are laid in a white cotton-like face sac. Fertility is very high; many forms give 2, sometimes up to 4 generations per year.
Larvae of the 1st instar (vagabonds) actively move around the fodder plant and can be carried by the wind. Having sucked onto the plant, the larvae lose their mobility; after molting, larvae of the next instar look for places to feed again. Adult females of some species can actively crawl along the forage plant. Before oviposition, many forms leave the feeding site and go to shelters.
In the world fauna, there are over 1600 species of scale insects, distributed everywhere, but mainly in the tropics. Among the worms there are many pests of fruit, industrial, ornamental crops and greenhouse plants. The most famous are the greenhouse lamellar bug, the Australian fluted bug (citrus pest, quarantine object), bamboo bug, citrus bug, seaside bug, grapebug, comstock bug (mulberry pest), olive pollinia.
Some types of worms secrete useful substances used in the paint and varnish industry (lacquer beetle and cochineal, which gives a red paint – carmine).
Mealybugs are easily recognizable by a white, cottony waxy coating, as a rule, they are clearly distinguishable with the naked eye. Sugar discharge (honeydew) and the sooty fungus settling on it are the following symptoms of the lesion.
Carrying out regular inspections for pest damage, especially in the off-season and on plants that are especially prone to damage by the worm, such as croton, ficuses, cacti, succulents, and some types of orchids. This pest is afraid of moisture, prefers dry conditions.
Keeping clean, removing all dried leaves. Plants that regularly wash their leaves are rarely affected by the worm.
Methods of struggle
Mild lesions are easy to deal with. With a soft brush or cotton swab dipped in soapy water, clean the plant from worms and the white cotton-like secretions they form, and then spray it three times with an interval of 7-10 days with a solution of green soap (10-15 g per 1 liter of water), tobacco infusion , infusion of garlic or decoction of cyclamen. A good effect is given by alcohol treatment or treatment with a pharmacy tincture of calendula.
In case of severe damage, in addition to manual destruction, spray at intervals of 7-14 days with one of the following products: Aktara, Biotlin, Calypso, Confidant, Confidor, Mospilan, Tanrek, Phytoverm… You may have to try several different drugs and choose the most effective one.
- Horsetail tincture. It is very good to water and spray diseased plants with horsetail tincture. Horsetail is sold in pharmacies and is used as a diuretic, as a blood purifier, etc. German name Schachtelhalmtee.
- Oil spraying agent. 1 liter of water is mixed with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then the emulsion is applied to the plant (preferably by spraying).
- Alcoholic solution with soap. Treating the plant with a mixture of 15 grams of liquid soap, 10 ml of denatured alcohol (Brennspiritus) and 1 liter of warm water can also be successful.
- Garlic tincture. Take 4-5 cloves of garlic per 0,5 liters of water. The water must be brought to a boil, and the garlic must be finely chopped or squeezed. Then the garlic must be poured with boiling water, and insisted for at least four hours. The infusion is filtered and applied with a brush to the leaves undiluted.
The best time to use chemicals is when newly hatched juveniles leave the womb or egg sac. They are not yet covered with protective wax and are very vulnerable.
The complexity of the fight against mealybugs lies precisely in the fact that different generations of insects are on the plant at the same time, therefore, a single application of an insecticide kills only young individuals, and after a while new ones hatch. In this regard, the use of drugs should be repeated several times every 7-14 days. The higher the stage of development of the larvae, the more difficult it is to deal with them.
Currently, a huge number of chemicals are sold in stores, including in the form of sprayers and sprays. After applying them to the plant, the protective chemical begins to be absorbed and enters the plant juices. Insects suck out such juice and poison themselves.
Preparations that, in addition to biologically active substances, also contain oil, have proven themselves very well in the fight against mealybugs. However, there are a number of disadvantages here. These medications should only be applied to affected areas and to areas that are considered potential insect hiding places.
When using sprays, before applying, you must carefully read what should be the minimum distance to the plant when applying, since the spray can very badly damage the leaves.
On sale you can also find protective granules and so-called root sticks. Here it must be borne in mind that, in addition to protective substances, these agents also contain fertilizers, therefore, before using them, it is necessary to carefully study their composition, since the roots of many plant species are very sensitive to various kinds of salts, and can burn out very quickly. For such species, these drugs are not acceptable. Sometimes dilution of the drug in water can help in order to bring fertilizer and medicine to the roots in a lighter form.
When fighting mealybugs, it is necessary to repeat the procedures for exposure to chemicals in order to prevent the emergence of a new, more stable generation, therefore, you should carefully monitor the period of repeated exposure indicated on the package.
Types of mealybugs
Bristly mealybug (Psendococcus Echinorhynchinae) – harm to plants of females and larvae. The body of an adult female 3,5 mm elongated-oval, orange or pinkish, covered with a white bloom. The worm has well-developed legs, thanks to which they can easily move from plant to plant. Females are viviparous. They usually accumulate in the form of colonies on the underside of the leaf, on the branches, in the axils of the leaves and on the young tops of the shoots.
The bristleworm is a rather large insect, easily visible on the plant due to the white powdery bloom that covers its body and white waxy formations in the form of cotton balls. Damaged leaves turn yellow and fall off. Shoots are stunted. Worms are taken under the bark of citrus fruits and under the scales of bulbs in bulbous ones. Plants damaged by the worm are strongly oppressed, stunted, the leaves turn yellow and fall off. Sooty fungi can settle on the secretions of worms.
Grape mealybug (Pseudococcus citri) – the body of the female is broadly oval, pink or yellowish, covered with a white powdery coating. The legs are well developed. Males are very rare. The hatched larvae spread throughout the plant, on shoots, on leaves along the main veins. With a strong defeat, the worms form huge colonies that suck out all the juices from the plant. The leaves turn yellow, the shoots dry out. Sooty fungi settle on the secretions of worms.
Seaside mealybug (Psendococcus related) – is one of the most common types of worms. The body of an adult female is elongated-oval, 3-4 mm long, 2-2,5 mm wide, grayish-pink in color, covered with a white powdery bloom. The legs are well developed.
Males are much smaller, winged, they fly all summer. Females lay their eggs in egg sacs, which are a white, fluffy, shapeless mass of waxy spiderweb secretions. Usually, oviparous females hide in secluded places: cracks in the bark, in twisted leaves, in a fork in branches. The larvae are small, mobile, yellow, completely devoid of wax plaque.
They quickly spread throughout the plant, are carried by the wind, man and animals to other plants. The larvae turn into an adult insect in 1-1,5 months. Sucking out all the juices from the plant, they cause stunted growth, and then the death of the plant. Damaged plants grow poorly and do not bloom. Sooty fungi settle on the secretions of the worms. The leaves turn yellow and fall off.
We hope our tips for worm control will help you! We are waiting for your comments!