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How to Manage Pests:

Pest Management and Identification

Mealybug destroyer

Scientific name: Cryptolaemus montrouzieri

Life cycle of mealybug destroyer Adult Male and female adults Larva

Click on image to enlarge

Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Coccinellidae

Common prey: Predaceous on a wide variety of mealybugs and other soft bodied homopterans including the citrus mealybug and the green shield scale. Used in citrus and greenhouses.

Commercially available: Yes


Lady beetles are easily recognized by their shiny, convex, half-dome shape and short, clubbed antennae. Most lady beetles, including this species, are predaceous as both larvae and adults. Young lady beetle larvae usually pierce and suck the contents from their prey. Older larvae and adults chew and consume their entire prey. Larvae are active, elongate, have long legs, and resemble tiny alligators. Many lady beetles look alike and accurate identification requires a specialist.

The adult mealybug destroyer is small, measuring 3-4 mm (1/6 inch) long and is mostly dark brown or blackish with an orangish head and tail. Larvae grow up to 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) long and are covered with waxy white curls making it difficult to see their legs. Larvae resemble mealybugs except that they are larger and more active. The wax can be scraped off larvae to reveal the pale, alligator-shaped beetle larvae. C. montrouzieri eggs are yellow and are laid among the cottony egg sacks of mealybugs. Pupation occurs in sheltered places on stems or other substrate. The mealybug destroyer undergoes complete metamorphosis and has about 4 generations per year. Both adults and larvae feed on exposed mealybug species and other hompterans such as the green shield scale. C. montrouzieri are most effective at controlling mealybugs when the mealybug population is high. Eggs and larvae are the preferred food for both adults and larvae. C. montrouzieri does not survive very well in cold weather and in some situations (citrus orchards and greenhouses) adults are bought and released in the spring in order to establish populations. When purchasing beetles, be sure you have an adequate ratio of females to males. Females have dark brown forelegs; males' forelegs are light brown.

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