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taz6122

Mealybug or predator

taz6122
13 years ago

Found these little guys on my zucchini plants early this morning and almost mixed up some spray but then decided to do some research. Found many pictures of mealybugs that didn't quite look like these. Then I found pictures of the mealybug predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri which looks much closer to this little guy. They are approximately 1/8 inch long.

I tried to post a link to a site that has the predator but was blocked with a spam warning. So what do you think?

Comments (9)

  • hortster
    13 years ago

    This may be a shot in the dark, but the critter's underside view does not look like mealy bug. I would vote predator - maybe the larva of a lady beetle, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri?
    hortster

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
    13 years ago

    taz, you hit the nail on the head with your observation of the mealybug destroyer. Both the adult and the larvae are predators of soft bodied insects such as mealies, soft scale, and whitefly nymphs.

    I rarely come across this insect. Where are you located?

  • taz6122
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Springdale,AR. That's NW AR. I found at least a dozen and as far as I know don't have mealybugs. I'll do some further inspection as soon as it cools down this eve. Thanks guys ;)

  • taz6122
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Wholly Cow, at the price these guys are goin for, I could make some extra cash selling them. Although the supply probably wouldn't last long. There's probably 200 or more on my zucchini alone, and there's a few on the tomatoes and peppers too. Since there's enough to go around, I will transfer a few to the flower bed too, since I don't see any there.

  • jean001
    13 years ago

    They also eat aphids.

    Beyond that, because they're present, they're getting plenty to eat.

  • taz6122
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    Hopefully they will cross to spidermites. That may be why they are present. I thought I was keeping the mites at bay by spraying with water but they are gaining in numbers. I've had a pretty good year as far as harvest but last year had plenty tomatoes right up to frost. I think my grape toms are done this year but the cherry and salad toms are still going good. I think grape toms are more susceptible to spidermites. They seem to be hardest hit. I'm rambling, I'll shut up now. Thanks again jean001.

    Happy growing.
    John

  • weedlady
    13 years ago

    I just Googled Cryptolaemus montrouzieri and according to Cornell's website (linked below) they would not survive winter outdoors in zone 6b.
    "This beetle was imported into the United States in 1891 from Australia by one of the early biological control pioneers, Albert Koebele, to control citrus mealybug in California. Although C. montrouzieri initially devastated the citrus mealybug populations in citrus groves, it was unable to survive the winter except in coastal areas.
    Habitat: Citrus groves in the coastal areas of California, interiorscapes, and greenhouses. In addition, C. montrouzieri is released seasonally into inland citrus orchards."

    This inability to survive cold winters is stated also at Bugguide (http://bugguide.net/node/view/7910)

    So it seems as if a nearby gardener has purchased the insect and you were lucky enough to have it spread to your garden! Would you be able to capture a number of these guys & (since they cannot be refrigerated) overwinter them in an indoor plant area so you will have a supply next year?

    Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell University Extension

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
    13 years ago

    I can't help but wonder, also, if your high population of these insects is due to someone else purchasing and releasing them nearby. Just a speculation. As we know, when ladybugs are released, they have a very strong tendency to SCRAM!

    No more pesticides in your gardens! If we hear about it, we'll have to spank you. ;-)

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • taz6122
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    I have a large orchard about 2 miles from me. I'll bet that's where they came from. I'll drive over and ask them this weekend. I've already moved some inside and will try again tonight or early in the morning. They seem to be more active at night. I may have to set up one of my terrariums to house these guys. I'll have to go on the hunt for mealybugs to keep either with them or in another sealed container and ration them through winter.
    rhizo I have already decided to stay away from chemical insecticides. I got a good dose of malathion poisoning and it scared the 773H out of me. Completely my fault and a lesson I've definitely learned from. Besides there's already too many contaminants in our water now. I'll be going all natural from now on. If I have a mite problem next spring I'll buy some predator mites and lacewings or midges.

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