Pink Hibiscus Mealy Bug
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Pink Hibiscus Mealybug

 What is the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug?

The pink hibiscus mealybug is a serious economic threat to agriculture, forestry, and the nursery industry. This pest attacks many plants, trees, and shrubs. For example, it infests hibiscus, citrus, coffee, sugar cane, annonas, plums, guava, mango, okra, sorrel, teak, mora, pigeon pea, peanut, grape, maize, asparagus, chrysanthemum, beans, cotton, soybean, and cocoa, just to name a few of its hosts. Host plants extend to 76 families and over 200 genera.

Is it found in Texas?

The Pink Hibiscus Mealybug was recently detected at separate homes in Harris and Brazoria counties. In cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, TDA collected 20 suspect mealybug samples from approximately two square miles surrounding the Pearland home. Of these 20 samples, six were confirmed as the pink hibiscus mealybug. TDA will initiate a similar survey around the southwest Houston home where the other mealy bug was detected to determine the extent of infestation.

Control Measures

Inspectors have initiated control measures using biological control. They are releasing parasitic wasps at all locations where the pink hibiscus mealy bugs were found. Research has shown these parasitic insects are the best method to control mealybugs, resulting in approximately 90 percent success rate. The tiny wasps will only attack the mealybugs, not humans or pets. Upon release, the wasps lay eggs inside the mealybugs and as they grow, the mealybugs die. As wasps multiply, they spread in search of additional mealybugs. A successful mealy bug control requires several months.