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Root Mealybugs


Root Mealybugs

Usually appear in

Spring to Autumn.

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Caused By:-     Various Genus of the Pseudococcidae Familly


Root or Ground Mealybugs are insects in several Genus like Cataenococcus, Geococcus, Pseudoccous or Rhizoecus of the family Pseudococcidae, and there are many species around the world. They prefer warm areas and therefore in the UK there are mainly a pest of the indoor or greenhouse plants especially cacti and succulents. They attack the roots just below the level of the soil, especially where the root and the stem meet.
Both young and adults suck the nutrients from the roots of the infected plant.
These insects are usually less than 6mm in length, pinkish in body colour and they are covered in a white waxy and wooly substance. They look similar to in shape.
They lay their 2mm eggs in sacs of the waxy, wooly coatings. They also excretes honeydew which attracts ants and sooty mould. The ants actually farm the Mealybugs for their secretions of honeydew and will transfer the pests from one plant to another. The young nymphs are similar to the adults but much smaller.
They are a difficult pest to eradicate as their fluffy, waxy coat prevent insecticides from getting to the insect. They also seems to be able to lay dormant on inert material for considerable a period before breaking out when conditions become favourable and often return again and again.
Plants infested with Root Mealybug will often turn yellow, wilt, leaves will drop, will be stunted and often die from rot because the wounds caused by their feeding allows other fungal and bacteria to cause secondary damage.
Picture by United States National Collection of Scale Insects Photographs Archive, USDA Agricultural Research Service,
See also , Mealy Plum Aphids, Mealy Bugs, Phormium Mealy Bugs, Wooly Aphids.


Root Mealybug is very difficult to control and every efforts should be made to prevent them in the first place.
Inspect bought plants by removing them from the pot and carefully inspect the roots for white cottony clumps. A quarantine period separate from old plants is wise until you're sure there is no infestation of mealybugs.
Remove and discard all potting soil of any plant infested with root mealybug.
Submerge your plants entire root system in a contact insecticide. The roots should be relatively dry before you re-plant in a fresh pot and potting soil.
Hot water dipping of the roots if the plant will withstand temperature around 45C for ten minutes before repotting in fresh soil.
There are some predatory beetles like Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, which is a ladybird like beetle originating from Australia or Hypoaspis soil-dwelling mites that can be used to control MealyBugs and other pests.

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