Striped Mealybug – Ferrisia virgata

Striped Mealybug – Ferrisia virgata

Common Name: Striped Mealybug

Latin Name: Ferrisiavirgata


  • The striped mealybug, Ferrisia virgata Cockerell, is a tiny insect that is an insect of a broad range of plants. It has spread unknowingly over the world as a result of international trade.
  • Mealybugs are sap-feeding insects with piercing, straw-like mouthparts known as stylets that tap into the phloem.
  • Severe mealybug infestations can be deadly to plants. Large populations of mealybugs appear as white, cottony-looking wax accumulations on the plant.
  • This wax is generated by specific glands and gives the insects their “mealy” look, hence the name “mealybug.”

Host plant:                 

The striped mealybug is a polyphagous species that may be found on various hosts. Copperleaf (Acalypha spp.), croton (Codiaeum variegatum), hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), seagrape (Coccoloba spp.), and citrus are common hosts in Florida, as are popular home garden foods such as tomato, eggplant, and pepper.


Ferrisia is a genus native to North America but is commonly found throughout the USA.

Damages caused by Striped Mealybug:

Mealybugs affect nutrient levels in plants through sap-feeding while also reducing growth. Mealybugs frequently create honeydew, a sticky, carbohydrate-rich material. Sooty mold, a fungus that creates a black coating on the leaf surface and inhibits photosynthesis, thrives in honeydew. Mealybug swarms on plants look like unattractive white, sticky masses of wax and individuals, rendering plants unmarketable. Mealybug infestations can also cause leaf discoloration and leaf and fruit drop; however, symptoms vary depending on plant type and health.

Life history and habits:

Males do not have mouthparts and live only three or four days. Each female produces 64 to 737 eggs on a pad of fluffy filaments beneath her for 20 to 29 days. The eggs hatch between 30 minutes and 4 hours later. Female nymphs molt three times, whereas male nymphs molt four times before reaching adulthood a month or two later.