ICAR-Directorate of Cashew Research, Puttur - 574 202, Karnataka, India
+91 8251-230902

Mealy Bugs

  • Planococcus citrii Risso,
  • Planococcus lilacinus Cockrell
  • Ferrisia virgata Cockrell)
  • Planococcoides robustus Ezzat and Meconnel
  • F. virgata: Small soft insects, body is covered with number of white waxy filaments all over, with two pronounced long waxy processes at the posterior end. A pair of dark submedian stripes is also present.
  • P. citri: Nymphs are pale yellow and without waxy coating. Adult females slightly elongate, ovate, 5-7 mm long and covered with white mealy wax including the appendages.

Ferrisia virgata on cashew shoot

                                                                        Planococcus sp.

  • Egg masses of F. virgata remain under the females till the young ones hatch out.
  • A female lays 100-300 eggs in 3-4 weeks. Eggs hatch in 3-4 hours and the nymphs develop as adults  in about 26-47 days.
  • Adults live for 14-21 days.

December- April

P. lilacinus – Citrus (Citrus sp.), cocoa (T. cacao), coffee (Coffea arabica), custard apple (Annona squamosa), fig (Ficus carica), guava (P. guajava), pomegranate (P. granatum), sapota (M. zapota), tamarind (T. indica).

P. citri – Coffee (Coffea arabica), crotons, ficus (Ficus sp.), fig (Ficus carica), ageratum (Ageratum sp.), citrus (Citrus sp.), erythrina (Erythrina sp.), pineapple (Ananas comosus), sapota (M. zapota), tea (C. sinensis);

F. virgata – Apple (M. domestica), banana (Musa spp.), citrus (Citrus sp.), crotons, custard apple (A. squamosa), grapevine (V. vinifera), guava (P. guajava), jatropa (J. curcas), jack (Artocarpus heterophyllus

  • Mealy bug colonies develop on young vegetative shoots, leaves, panicles and tender fruits.
  • Damaged flowers wither and dry, while the fruits shrivel, under develop or sometimes dry up.
  • Due to honey dew secretion by mealy bugs, sooty mould develops on the affected areas.

                                            F. virgata on panicle

  • Removal and destruction of mealy bug infested plant parts helps to minimize their infestation and spread.
  • Natural enemies play a major role in suppressing this pest at low population level. Apanteles sp., Blepyrus insularis Cameron and Aenasius advena Campere (Encyrtidae) are the parasitoids of F. virgata.
  • If essential, spraying of profenophos (1.5 ml/lit), dimethoate (2 ml/lit), thiamethoxam (0.6 g/lit), imidacloprid (0.6 ml/lit) may be followed to manage mealy bugs.