Cypress Bark Mealybug – Ehrhornia cupressi

Cypress Bark Mealybug: Appearance, Territory, Damage and Life

Latin name: Ehrhornia cupressi

Appearances: Soft, oval, wax-coated mealybugs eat a variety of plants. The female is broadly oval in shape, grows to a length of about 2 mm, and has a pinkish to brilliant red body color. The white cottony threads that protrude from the bark and surround the insects on the surface where they are active can be used to identify them.

Host plants: Ehrhornia cupressi, sometimes known as the cypress bark scale or mealybug. On cedar, cypress, and juniper, this sucking insect (Pseudococcidae) can be found in the cracks between the bark plates. In natural regions, populations are often benign, but Monterey cypress can be a major nuisance in urban areas.

Territory: California is home to over 170 different species of mealybugs. Few have developed into significant pests.

Damage insect caused: Mealybugs consume plant phloem sap, which lowers plant vigor, and they expel sticky honeydew and wax, which decreases the quality of plants and fruits, particularly when black sooty mold develops on the honeydew. It can be unpleasant to see large collections of mealybugs, their egg sacs, and wax. Healthy plants may withstand low populations without suffering considerable harm, but high populations that feed on leaves or stems can limit plant growth and induce leaf drops.

Ground mealybugs, which are uncommon in gardens and landscapes, eat the roots of plants and can lead to plant decline, but they are typically not noticed until the roots of the plants have been dug out. Mealybugs have an impact on numerous varieties of perennial plants. Citrus trees are the ones that have the most issues.

Life cycle and habits: Species have slightly different life cycles. Most mealybug adult females lay 100–200 or more eggs in cottony egg sacs over the course of 10–20 days. Egg sacs can be fastened to fruit, twigs, leaves, bark, or crowns. The long-tailed mealybug is an anomaly, as it lays eggs that stay inside the female until they hatch. Newly hatched mealybug nymphs (known as crawlers) are yellow to orangish or pink, lack wax, and are quite mobile. However, soon after settling down to feed, they start to excrete a waxy covering. Adults and older nymphs have legs and can move, although they cannot travel quickly or far. Before becoming adults, nymphs go through multiple instars of development.