Cornstock Mealybug – Pseudoccus comstocki
Cornstock Mealybug: Appearance, Territory, Damage and Life
Latin name: Pseudococcus Comstocki
Appearances: Mealybugs are segmented, elongate-oval insects with soft bodies and a waxy secretion that gives them a mealy or powdery look. Adult female Comstock mealybugs are 3 to 5 mm (0.12 to 0.20 in) long, have no wings, and have “17 pairs of filaments” extending from the body’s border, with a longer pair at the back. Adult males are tiny, about the size of gnats. Mealybugs are segmented, elongate-oval insects with soft bodies that secrete a waxy fluid that gives them a mealy or powdery look.
Host plants: They have both citrus (lemon) and non-citrus (banana, boxwood, jasmine, mulberry, peach, Prunus persica pear, Pyrus communism pomegranate, Punica granatum privet, umbrella catalpa) hosts.
Territory: Comstock mealybugs (Pseudococcus Comstocki; CMB) are endemic to China and Japan, but they are currently found as pome fruit pests all over the world.
Damage insect caused: CMB infesting the calyx produces vast volumes of honeydew, which serves as a substrate for the growth of sooty mold on the fruit’s exterior, causing damage to the fruit. On processed fruit, the presence of CMB in the calyx is a contamination issue. Infestation can result in poorer yields and poor-quality fruit. Ripening can be slowed or slowed down. Mealybugs secrete honeydew, which coats the outside of the fruit and promotes the formation of a fungus called sooty mold, which limits photosynthesis, weakens the plant, and makes the fruit unappealing. Honeydew is produced by the species’ “piercing-sucking mouthparts”. Honeydew inhibits photosynthesis while also causing damage to the plant.
Life cycle and habits: Eggs are laid in fissures in the bark, pruning cuts, and other protected spots. Crawlers are the first instar nymphs that hatch from eggs in the spring. Crawlers eat on leaves and shoots until they reach maturity in late summer. In around 11 days, the adults’ deposit eggs, and the second-generation hatches. By late October, the young females have matured and can lay eggs that can survive the winter in some temperate places. The nymphs and adults can overwinter on rare occasions.
The eggs hatch in late spring and the nymphs eat on leaves and shoots until early July when they are fully developed. These adults then lay eggs, which hatch in 11 days, and second-generation larvae mature into adults by early autumn. Overwintering eggs are laid by these adults, and they may overwinter themselves in some situations.