Citrus mealybug

Planococcus citri

Adult size ranges in length from 3 mm (females) to 4.5 mm (males). The females are wingless, white to light brown in color, with brown legs and antennae. The body of adult females is coated with white wax and bears a characteristic faint gray stripe along their dorsal side. Short waxy filaments can be seen around the margins of their oval body with a slightly longer pair of filaments present at the rear end of their body. Female mealybugs are wingless and, therefore, must be transported to subsequent host plants, although they are able to crawl for short distances. The immatures can be blown by wind. Females can live for up to 29 days depending on the host plant. Males are similar in color to females and have two long backward-projecting white wax threads. Adult males are winged and thus capable of flying to new host plants for mating purpose.

Damage: Citrus mealybug feeding results in wilted, distorted and yellowed chlorotic leaves, premature leaf drop, stunted growth, and occasional death of infested plants or plant parts. The sugary honeydew secreted by citrus mealybugs falls on leaves and fruits below, resulting in the growth of sooty mold. In addition to its unsightly appearance, sooty mold may degrade fruit quality by reducing the photosynthetic capacity of leaves.