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
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.