Planococcus citri (citrus mealybug), Pseudococcus affinis (affinis mealybug), Pseudococcus longispinus (long-tailed mealybug), Pseudococcus obscurus (obscure mealybug).
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, commonly referred to as the Mealybug Destroyer was originally imported into the United States from Australia in the 1890’s for the control of Citrus Mealybug in California. They are currently used in Citrus for Citrus Mealybug; Grapes for Grape and Obscure Mealybug’s; in the Caribbean for the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug; Greenhouses, Arboretums, Interiorscapes, Zoos and Aquariums for various species of mealybug’s. Cryps are small coccinellid beetles, dark brown ladybugs with an orange head and tail (approximately 4 mm / 1/6 in long). The yellow eggs are deposited into the woolly egg masses singularly. The larvae are up to 13 mm (1/2 in) and are white with wax-like filaments covering them. Once the pupae hatch they are found in sheltered places (underside of leaves, stems, greenhouse structures etc). The adults and larvae of Cryps feed on all stages of the mealybug’s. Young larvae and adults prefer mealybug eggs and smaller stages of the mealybug. Older larvae eat all stages.
Cryptolaemus are sold as adults only. The packages contain paper strips for them to cling during shipment as well has drops of honey as a food source. Cryptolaemus prefer to feed on mealybug’s and a few other closely related species (aphids, scales). Females deposit their eggs in the cottony egg mass produced by female mealybug’s. Cryptolaemus are not as effective on mealybug’s that do not produce egg masses, such as Long-tailed Mealybug. Cryptolaemus cannot survive sub-freezing temperatures and therefore need to be reintroduced in orchards or landscapes, where the winter temperature is too low.
Orchards & Vineyards: 1000-5000 per acre, 1-2 times per year.
Ornamentals, Greenhouses and Interior applications: 5-10 per plant and 100 per large tree.
Use the above numbers as an initial guideline. Cryps are more likely to lay eggs when there is at least some mealybug egg mass present.
Release the adults on the infected plants early morning or evening.
Life span of the Cryptolaemus:
Egg to adult 6.5 weeks, sex ratio of eggs 50% female, Each female adult lays 200-400 eggs, adults live 1-2 months. Development stages are Egg – 4 larval stages – pupa – adult.
Pesticides and even wetting agents and spreader-stickers may adversely affect Cryps survival. Broad spectrum and systemic insecticides are toxic to Cryptolaemus.