How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Seasonal development and life cycle—Mealybugs

Mealybugs overwinter as eggs or crawlers in protected places on the tree, such as crevices in the bark. The yellow to orange eggs are laid in a cottony mass called an ovisac. The young nymphs, or crawlers, are oblong, whitish, yellowish, or reddish and may or may not be covered with waxy filaments. In spring, crawlers move to the base of growing shoots or fruit clusters and stay until maturity (late May or June). As they mature, mealybugs become purple and develop a white powdery wax covering. Mature female mealybugs are about 3/16 inch long. Males are tiny two-winged insects that are rarely seen. Mature females return to protected places under the bark and lay eggs. Eggs also may be laid in the calyx end of the fruit such as apples.

Eggs hatch in June, and the new generation of crawlers moves from the bark to tender shoots or fruit to feed with those hatched on the fruit. Adults of this generation move back to the bark in August or September and lay eggs for overwintering. Some of these eggs may hatch in the fall to produce crawlers that overwinter. Most mealybugs have several generations a year

Mealybug nymphs
Mealybug nymphs
Cottony mass of eggs
Cottony mass of eggs
Mealybug adult
Mealybug adult

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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