How to Manage Pests
Identification: Natural Enemies Gallery
Citrus mealybug parasite
Scientific name: Leptomastix dactylopii
Leptomastix dactylopii is a yellowish brown wasp, less than 1/8 inch (about 3 mm) in length. The adult female lays its eggs in late-instar mealybug nymphs and young adults. After hatching the larva feeds inside the host and develops through four larval stages. During development it turns the mealybug into a brown, barrel-shaped mummy. Metamorphosis is complete. After pupating, the emerging adult wasp chews a hole through the mummy and exits.
This parasite prefers hosts in warm, sunny, humid environments. At warm temperatures, Leptomastix can complete one generation in about 3 weeks. Naturally occurring parasite populations often provide good biological control of citrus mealybug outdoors. It also has been released in combination with the mealybug destroyer to successfully control citrus mealybug in greenhouses.