Grape Mealybug – Phenaccus maritimus

Grape Mealybug: Appearance, Territory, Damage and Life

Latin name: Phenacoccus maritimus

Appearances: The adults of all three Pseudococcus species are 0.2 inches long, flat, oval-shaped, and covered in a white waxy substance with wax filaments protruding from the body’s perimeter. These mealybugs have “tails” that are longer filaments that extend from the back. The vine mealybug is a recently introduced species that is covered in a different section. These filaments are longer than those on the vine mealybug.

Host plants: The Pseudococcus maritimus, often known as the grape mealybug, is a kind of scale insect that attacks grapevines. It spreads the illness that affects small cherries.

Territory: The mysterious mealybugs and grape mealybugs are the main species of concern in the San Joaquin Valley and North Coast vineyards. Long-tailed and hidden mealybugs can harm Central Coast grapes.

Damage insect caused: The San Joaquin Valley and North Coast have seen an increase in grape mealybug infestations in recent years, and Central Coast vineyards have seen an increase in the occurrence of long-tailed and cryptic mealybugs. Variety affects susceptibility to mealybug harm. Because the fruit frequently meets old wood, it is worse on kinds that develop clusters close to the base of the shoot. By infecting clusters with cottony egg sacs, larvae, adults, and honeydew, mealybugs harm grapes. A black sooty mold frequently grows on the honeydew. Grape viruses can be spread by all three species.

Life cycle and habits: Long-tailed mealybugs give birth to live crawlers, whereas grape and mysterious mealybugs produce eggs that range in color from yellow to orange. All three species’ crawlers’ range in color from yellow to orange-brown. The grape mealybug reproduces twice annually and spends the winter as an egg or crawler in or near a white, cottony egg sac under loose bark, in the cordons, or on the higher trunk sections. The majority of grape mealybug crawlers travel onto developing green shoots in the spring from the base of spurs or under the loose bark of canes, maturing in mid-May to early June. All life stages of obscure and long-tailed mealybugs are constantly present on the vines because they have several overlapping generations and do not enter a winter diapause. Under the bark of the trunk, cordons, and spurs, elusive mealybug spends the winter (the same as grape mealybug). While few cryptic mealybugs start feeding on leaves in the late spring, the most of the population continues to be buried beneath the bark or congregated in small groups.