Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Control Guide
A common problem that many homeowners and other growers face is the pink hibiscus mealybug bug, this garden pest according to records was first detected in 1994 in the Caribbean islands. But it was not until June of 2002 that the pink hibiscus mealybug was spotted in Miami-Dade countries and Broward, the female hibiscus mealybugs reproduces very quickly laying up to 600 eggs which are deposited on the undersides of the plant leaves.
The female can also produce up to 15 generations per year which is why control measures should be taken once these insects are discovered to reduce and control population growth. The freshly laid eggs are orange but turn a pink color before they hatch, the adult including the nymphs move from place to place either by walking or carried by the wind.
The lifecycle of the pink hibiscus mealybugs is 23 to 30 days before their short life ends. What I found to be very interesting and worth noting is that their destruction includes not only garden ornamental plants but agricultural crops as well.
Pink hibiscus mealybugs are tiny pink-bodied insects that are covered with a white waxy secretion, the female mealybugs are much bigger than the male. These bugs overwinter inside crumpled leaf clusters, under barks, leaf scars, fruit clusters, bark crevices, and tree boles.
How to the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Cause Damage?
Mealybugs cause plant damage by injecting their piercing sucking mouth parts that are like a hyperdermic needle into the plant’s soft tissues feeding on the sap, and contaminating the plant by injecting their toxic saliva. Below are signs of plants that are infected by this toxic saliva, mealybugs have been also known to spread viruses.
Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Signs
Some signs to look for to determine if you have pink hibiscus mealybugs.
- Plants that are covered with a white waxy substance
- Cottony egg masses on plants
- The entire plant maybe stunted
- The plants stem may twist
- Plant dieback
- Leaf yellowing
- Leaf drop
- Flower buds may not produce flowers
- A sticky substance that’s sugary known as honeydew on the plant’s leaves
- The presence of ants feeding on this sugary substance
- Black mold growing on top of honeydew
- The presence of mealybugs feeding on the surface of plant leaves
Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Control
There are several ways to control mealybugs that have proven to give good results.
- Proper Management Practices
- Mechanical Control
- Chemical Control
- Biological Control
Proper Management Practices
Although proper management practices are important for garden plants to thrive there are still times when you will have unexpected and uninvited (garden insect pests) guests. Even in the best-keep gardens insect pests can still be an issue, but what’s so great about proper management practices which include the proper lighting, water, and fertilizing methods is that even if garden insect pests are present your plants stand a greater chance of survival and will bounce back to good healthy pretty fast.
A plant that’s neglected its basic ( proper lighting, water, and fertilizing) needs will become stressed and sickly making it difficult for that plant to recover from garden insect pest invasion. Ensure your plant is getting the right amount of sunlight, and water and is on a good fertilizer program so they can withstand insect pests along with your help of cause which brings us to mechanical control.
Mechanical Control to Reduce Mealybugs Populations
This control method involves using a hand pruner to remove plant parts where the infestation is not that great, where a small portion of the plant is infected and not threatening to a plant’s health which can be removed with a hand pruner or lopper shears. It’s where even if treating that part with pesticides it would still die if not already dead. Hand pruners that are used on infected plants should be sterilized or cleaned with a clean cloth or piece of rag that’s soaked in bleach. The blades must be cleaned thoroughly, the reason for this move is what you don’t want is to use an infected tool on a healthy plant or healthy plant parts to spread disease.
Chemical control is the quickest and most effective way for pest management however caution should be taken because many listed chemicals if used incorrectly can not only cause injury to plants (plant burn) but can contaminate the air that we breathe causing injury to humans, pets, wildlife, beneficial insects and can possibly contaminate our water system including ponds, streams, and other water bodies.
If the infestation is that great and requires the use of chemicals reach for ones that are less toxic, pesticides such as horticultural oil, insecticidal soap or neem oil are great choices. Before using insecticides, however, read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.
Biological control is a safe and naturally occurring method that involves the use of one type of insect (good bugs or beneficial insects) species to control another type of insect (bug bugs or insect garden pests) species. The good bugs are like the police of our gardens, they protect our garden plants by feeding on or making a meal out of the bad bugs.
These natural predators assist in helping to bring balance to our ecosystem, there are also other organisms such as nematodes that can be used to suppress and control garden insect pest populations. With biological control even though it’s much safer than chemical control the desired results are much slower, biological control should only be considered if the pests problem is not damaging and a threat to plant life, on the other hand, if the pest’s issues are out of control then quick action must be taken pesticides are much more preferred.
Besides beneficial insects, biological control also includes the use of pathogens and parasites, to suppress diseases, mites other organisms along with weeds. There are 2 ways to introduce beneficial insects to your garden one method is purchasing them from your plant nursery and releasing them into your garden and the other method involves making your garden a place that will attract them.
Some examples of Beneficial Insects
- Praying Mantis
- The Mealybug destroyer
- Assassin Bugs
- Aphid Midges
- Soldier Beetles
- Green Lacewings
- Ground Beetles
- Robber Flies
- Braconid Wasp
- Minute Pirate Bugs
- Damsel Bugs
- Cicada Killer
The final word on how to control pink hibiscus mealybug
The pink hibiscus mealybug has been around for a while like other garden pests, the good news is as destructive as these insects are they can be controlled with the many management practices that are available. If you are having issues with these garden pests this guide will help you to bring control because our garden plants are depending on us to help keep them safe and healthy so they can go to work for us.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.