Passionfruit mealybugs

Planococcus kenyae

Mealybugs (Planococcus kenyae) are small oval insects, covered in a white, waxy fluff. They attach themselves to the vines in protected places near the fruits, especially underneath the old, dried up flower bracts, and in the leaf axils. Mealybugs are also a common pest in citrus trees and pawpaws.

Damage: Mealybugs suck sugar-rich sap (honeydew) from the plant. The sugar spreads over the surface of the plant and encourages the development and growth of sooty black mold. It is called sooty black mold because it looks as if the leaves and twigs of the plant are covered in black soot. As the sooty black mold grows and covers ever bigger areas, it slowly surpresses photosynthesis as the sunlight can no longer penetrate the mold to reach the leaves. The plant becomes week and might even die eventually. Sooty black mold is also caused by aphids and whiteflies, as they also suck honeydew from plants.

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