pink hibiscus mealybug
Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green)

Pink hibiscus mealybug (PHMB) is established in most tropical areas of the world including Africa, India, Australia, and Asia. It is a serious pest in Hawaii, the Caribbean and has been found in southern California and Florida. Movement of infested plants and fruits, as well as, dispersal by wind, birds, and wildlife provide an opportunity to introduce the pest. More than 200 species of trees, plants, and shrubs are known hosts; including beans, chrysanthemum, citrus, coconut, coffee, cotton, corn, croton, cucumber, grape, guava, hibiscus, peanut, pumpkin, rose, and mulberry. Eggs are pink, minute, and contained in an egg sack of white wax. Newly hatched nymphs are called "crawlers" since the nymphal stage is wingless. Both males and females have active nymphal stages. The male has an inactive stage in which with wing buds form within a cocoon of mealy wax. Both female and male adult hibiscus mealybugs are about 1/8 inch (3 mm) long. Female bodies are pink, wingless, and covered by a mass of white mealy wax, just like the nymphs. When squished, the bodily fluid is reddish. Males have a pair of wings, two long waxy tails and can fly. Reproduction continues through parthenogenesis if there are no males. PHMB usually completes its entire cycle in 23 - 30 days and under optimum conditions 15 generations a year are possible. Feeding by nymphs and adults results in stunting, shriveled fruit, poor fruit set, deformed leaves and shoots, and sometimes death. Infested fruits may be entirely covered with the white waxy coating of the mealybug. Sooty mold may develop on honeydew secretions of the mealybug.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Selected Images from Invasive.orgView All Images at Invasive.org


Adult(s); winged male mating with female
Dale E. Meyerdirk, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Life Cycle ; adult female with eggs
Dale E. Meyerdirk, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Life Cycle ; young hatching
Dale E. Meyerdirk, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Egg(s);
Dale E. Meyerdirk, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Nymph(s);
Dale E. Meyerdirk, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); reddish liquid produced when insect is crushed
Dale E. Meyerdirk, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org
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