Common on houseplants, these sap feeding aphid relatives are also found outdoors in warm climates. The name ‘”‘mealybug'”‘ refers to the female insects’ powdery wax coating- a shield that prevents insecticides from penetrating. Colonies are often dense enough to make a cottony mound on leaves or, more typically, on stems.
Target: Soft tissues of most plants.
Damage: Leafs are distorted and yellowed; growth is stunted. Honeydew excreted by mealybugs attracts ants and promotes sooty mold.
Life cycle: Each female lays about 600 eggs in a protective sac. Pale yellow nymphs hatch, then wander over the plant before settling down to feed; overlapping generations feed in the same cluster. Mealybugs can over winter as nymphs or eggs.
Notes: Control ants or they’ll protect mealybugs from predators.