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Mealybugs are a serious pest of many plants and crops, especially ornamental crops and plant collections. They get their name because female Mealybugs are covered in a white waxy material. Underneath this layer, they are often pink or yellow.
Mealybugs are sapsuckers and will extract large amounts of sap from plants, which causes stunted growth and yellowing of leaves. They also produce large amounts of honeydew and leave large residues on plants. This residue will then grow mold and is very unsightly. Mealybug damage can also reduce photosynthesis in leaves leading to reduced flowering and less yield for fruiting plants.
The Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Ladybirds are prolific killers of Mealybugs, and are actually one of the first biological controls to have been used by professionals for the control of Mealybug. Native to Australia, these little predators are highly regarded throughout the world for their effective natural control of Mealybugs on cacti, succulents and many other greenhouse plants.
The Mealybug predator adults will seek out prey in greenhouses and conservatories and feed on all stages of the Mealybug life cycle; including the eggs, larvae and adults. If Mealybugs are not available to prey on, the Cryptolaemus will also feed on Scale Insects at a lower consumption rate.
Use these predators as soon as Mealybug infestations are observed. Cryptolaemus adults will then help to control these outbreaks by consuming large numbers of the pests.
The Cryptolaemus montrouzieri are best suited for use in greenhouses, conservatories or in other heated areas.
It is recommended that you release the adult Cryptolaemus in the evening, with windows and vents closed so they cannot fly away.
Simply open the container and lodge it in foliage for the Ladybirds to emerge naturally. If, after a few hours, some adults are left inside, gently tip them out onto the infested plants.
Full instructions will be provided on delivery.
Cryptolaemus are generally only used in heated environments in the UK. They require a temperature of at least 16℃ to begin feeding on Mealybug. Optimum control is found between 20-25℃, with high levels of light.
We advise applying Cryptolaemus adults at the following rate:
In treating a light infestation - 5 adults per square metre
In treating a heavy infestation – 10 adults per square metre
Repeat applications may be required for the heavy infestations. Add more adults every 2 weeks until clear populations of Cryptolaemus can be observed, and have established on the plant. 2-3 weeks after application, given adequate levels of prey, Cryptolaemus larvae should be observed on the plants too.
Providing the conditions are suitable, and there are adequate levels of prey, the Cryptolaemus life cycle will last for around 25 days. The Cryptolaemus will also begin to breed, however, and females lay their eggs on the Mealybug wool. After around 7 days these eggs will hatch into larvae. The larvae are also voracious predators of Mealybugs and will consume large numbers of the pest for 12-21 days before pupating into adults.
For more information on Cryptolaemus montrouzieri larvae see our product listing here.
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri is a living creature and can be affected by any chemical pesticides used within the previous few weeks. As a general guide, refrain from using Natural Pyrethrum or SB Plant Invigorator 2 days prior to use. Other chemical insecticides can have long lasting residues that could harm Cryptolaemus montrouzieri and other predators for much longer periods. Refrain from using these products or check with Dragonfli for information on the effect of these products on our predators.