MEALYBUG DESTROYERS

Bug Index

               
Assassin Bug

Big-Eyed Bug

Firefly

Bumblebee

Damselfly

Dragonfly

Giant Diving

Beetle

Giant Stoneflies

Giant Water Bug

Ground Beetles

Honeybee

Lacewings

Ladybird Beetle

Mealybug Destroyer

Millipede

Pirate Bugs

Praying Mantid

Predatory Mites

Rove Beetle

Sowbug

Syrphid Flies

Tachnid Fly

Yellow Jacket


Both the larvae and adults of this member of the lady beetle family feed on mealybugs. They may also feed on aphids and immature scale insects. Each adult female lays hundreds of eggs that mix with mealybug eggs. When the beetle larvae hatch, they eat all the immature mealybugs.

Mealybug destroyers need warm temperatures and high humidity, so are better suited for greenhouses. Gardeners often buy them to live in greenhouses and protect plants.

The mealybug destroyer is a small (1/5") black lady beetle with a tan front end and a voracious appetite for mealybugs and some soft scale bugs. This beetle was imported into the United States in 1891 from Australia by one of the early biological control pioneers, Albert Koebele, to control citrus mealybugs in California. Though this beetle initially devastated the citrus mealybug populations in citrus groves, it was unable to survive the winter, except in coastal areas. Consequently, techniques for mass rearing this beetle were developed for its release into groves during the warmer months. In the Midwest, the mealybug destroyer can be used to reduce populations of citrus and long tailed mealybugs in greenhouses. Mealybugs eat ornamental plants that are grown in greenhouses. The Mealybug-Destroyer protects greenhouse plants by eating the mealybugs. 

Adult female beetles lay their eggs among the cottony egg sack of adult female mealybugs. Eggs hatch into larvae in about 5 days at 80F. These larvae, whose waxy covering makes them superficially resembles mealybugs, feed on mealybug eggs and young crawlers. It takes another 24 days for these beetles to go through three larval stages and a pupal stage before they become adults. After four days, adult beetles begin to lay up to 400 yellow eggs during their two month life span.

Below is a picture of an adult Mealybug-Destroyer eating Mealybugs. Mealybugs are small,  cottony-looking insects with piercing/sucking mouth parts. They suck the fluids from leaves and stems, robbing plants of essential nutrients. Leaves wither and yellow and may drop from the plant. Indoors. Mealybugs thrive in a warm, dry environment and may produce several new generations each year.