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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 mould 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 Ladybird larvae are prolific killers of Mealybugs. 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 larvae will feed excessively on Mealybugs until they pupate into the adult Cryptolaemus around 21 days after application.
The initial advantage of using the Cryptolaemus montrouzieri larvae is the sheer number of Mealybugs that will be consumed. The larvae also roughly stay situated in the same area as to where they were released. This makes direct applications onto infestations straightforward.
Both Cryptolaemus montrouzieri larvae, and Cryptolaemus montrouzieri adults will feed on Mealybugs, which ensures you will benefit from having the Ladybirds on your plants for multiple stages of their life cycle. The Mealybug predator larvae 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 larvae will then help to control these outbreaks by consuming large numbers of the pests.
The Cryptolaemus montrouzieri larvae are best suited for use in greenhouses, conservatories or in other heated areas. The predators are not suited for use outdoors.
Simply open the container and lodge it in foliage for the Cryptolaemus larvae to emerge naturally. If, after a few hours, some larvae are left inside, gently tip them out onto the infested plants.
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri larvae can also be applied using our Dragonfli Distribution Boxes, which will be more effective for larger plants. Distribute the supplier vial, or bottle, contents into your boxes and hang them on the stems or leaves of your plants. The predators will then proceed to exit the boxes and move around the plants looking for food.
Full application 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 - 10-20 larvae per square metre
In treating a heavy infestation – 20-40 larvae per square metre
Repeat applications may be required for the heavy infestations. Add more larvae every 2 weeks until clear populations of Cryptolaemus can be observed, and have established on the plant.
Providing the conditions are suitable, and there are adequate levels of prey, the Cryptolaemus larvae will feed for around 3 weeks before developing into adults. The Cryptolaemus adults themselves have a life cycle of around 25 days, during which time they will also breed and produce a further generation of larvae.
For more information on Cryptolaemus montrouzieri adults 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.