What is Mealy Bug?
Mealy Bug is a major pest in conservatories and greenhouses and with more and more ornamental plants being grown in permanent plantings, this allows the pest to flourish and overwinter.
Another sure sign of a mealy bug infestation is "white wool" developing on the plant leaves and stems. This is where the eggs are laid. The female is flightless, only the young nymphs are active and search out new feeding sites by crawling from plant to plant. As the nymphs mature they become less active and settle down to feed. The life cycle can take up to 13 weeks at 18°C/66°F.
Female Mealy Bugs are soft bodied, pink / grey in colour and about 5mm long. They are covered with white waxy threads and a waxy covering. Mealy Bugs feed by sucking the sap from the plant and can be found on the stems, leaf joints and leaves - causing them to yellow. The insect extracts large amounts of sap with the excess sap being excreted as honeydew causing a sticky deposit on the lower leaves. In time, sooty mould grows on the honeydew resulting in an unpleasant mess.
As the adults are flightless the pest must initially be brought in on infected plants and once it established it is very difficult to eradicate.
How do I control Mealy Bug?
Control Mealy Bug by introducing Cryptolaemus Larvae when mealy bug is 1st spotted and the temp is above 16c/61f. N.B. If you have recently used a chemical spray i.e. within the last 2-3 weeks, please contact us to check how soon Cryptolaemus can be introduced?
What is Cryptolaemus and when should I apply it?
Control mealy bug in your greenhouse or conservatory by introducing cryptolaemus larvae AS SOON as you see mealy bug and the temp is 16C/61F.
Place the Cryptolaemus larvae directly onto the infected plants near the mealy bugs - these larvae are easy to handle. The larvae (which look very similar to Mealy Bug) feed on the mealy bug before turning into the adult Cryptolaemus ladybirds.
The female cryptolaemus then lays her eggs next to the Mealy bug eggs in the "white wool" egg pouches and the whole process is repeated. All stages of the Cryptolaemus eat Mealy Bugs and their eggs. Unlike the Mealy Bug the Cryptolaemus can fly and are very efficient in searching out the Mealy bugs.
Cryptolaemus requires both heat and light, so introduce them when the temperature is 16°C/61°F and use artificial light if it is early in the season. If mealybug is present and the temperature is below 16c, control the mealy bug with SB Invigorator until the temperatures are high enough.
Which pack should I order?
Use one introduction of 10 x Cryptolaemus Larvae for small greenhouses / conservatories where Mealy Bug has just appeared.
Use an Economy pack of 30 x Cryptolaemus Larvae for larger conservatories / greenhouses or where Mealy Bug numbers are higher.