First Sign: Distorted leaves, generally weakened plants. Clusters of Mealybugs look like a cottony mass. It's only on close examination that they're seen to be individual, soft bodied, very slow moving insects.
Special Species Notes: Covered with a fluffy, waxy coating, Mealybugs tend to gather, often at a crotch or joint. But don't let this quiet-looking crew fool you. Even though Mealybugs breed somewhat slower than other insects (each generation takes about a month), they can slowly but steadily build up to quite dense and damaging populations. General controls, like Pirate Bugs , Lacewings , & Ladybugs , will eat the young Mealybugs, but Mealybug Destroyers are the best control for both adult & juvenile Mealybugs.
Tiny (1/8") black Ladybugs, these Mealybug Destroyers (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) are originally from Australia, and are one of the oldest and most successful of biological controls.
Application: Just shake them onto plants right from the container they arrive in. We recommend 2-5 Mealybug Destroyers per infested plant. They have large appetites for such a small insect. A few will go a long, long way.
Another Mealybug Control: Pirate Bugs
This newest Thrips control (Orius insidiosis) also eats Mealybugs, Spider Mites and Aphids. Shipped as nymphs near hatching or adults ready to use (no choice).
Application: Use 100-2000 per acre, depending on rate of infestation.
For use against Aphids, Thrips, Mealybugs and Whiteflies.
Looking like tiny alligators, Lacewing larvae (Chrysopa rufilabris) voraciously attack almost any prey they can grab. They inject a paralyzing venom and suck the body fluids from the helpless insect victim.
Green Lacewings are available as eggs in a cup, eggs glued to cards which are hung from foliage, or as pre-hatched ready to go larvae.
Application: Eggs and larvae can be hand sprinkled almost anywhere because Lacewings search up to 100 feet for their first meal.
Lacewing eggs may be refrigerated for a few days at 38-45 F. to delay hatching, but be careful not to freeze them. Typical egg release rates range from 5000 - 50,000 eggs per acre, depending on infestation levels. Typical larvae release rates range from 1000-5000 per acre. Repeated releases every 2-4 weeks may be necessary in severe or heavy infestations.
Typically, Ladybugs (Hipodamia convergens) eat over 5,000 Aphids and other soft-bodied pests during their one-year lifetime. They are one of the most commonly known beneficial insects.
Ladybugs are one of the few beneficial insects that can be stored, dormant, in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks, depending on the time of year, as long as they don't freeze or dry out. This allows you to use a few at a time, as needed.
Application: For home use, 1,500 is usually enough for one application in a small greenhouse or garden. For larger areas, a quart (18,000) or gallon (72,000) of ladybugs may be desired.
If Ladybugs tend to fly away, spraying their backs with a soda pop/water solution glues their wings shut for about a week. We include instructions for this, as well as detailed release notes with your order.