Pink hibiscus mealybug (Maconellicoccus hirsutus) is one of the most serious pest problems that typically affect plants in tropical and subtropical regions.
These pests were first discovered in the Caribbean in 1994. Since then, they have continued to spread throughout the world.
Today, it is common to find plants affected by mealybugs in regions of Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
Keep in mind these pests attack hibiscus plants and trees but these dangerous pests that not only pose threats to crops but also to a number of ornamental plants including:
- Kahila Ginger lily
- Heliconia plants
… and many more.
In fact, these pests are even known to attack forest trees!
Irrespective of the plants you grow, your garden is always at the risk of suffering from an attack of Pink hibiscus mealybugs.
What Are Pink Hibiscus Mealybugs?
Pink hibiscus mealy bugs are well-known pests. They are tiny bugs that attack and damage plants.
Generally, a mealybug will grow up to be 3mm long. They have pink bodies covered with white waxy secretion.
Adult males mealybugs are smaller than females. However, they have two long and waxy tails.
The entire life cycle of these bugs lasts for around 23 to 30 days.
However, adult females lay around 600 eggs, and reproduce at a frightening rate.
What Damage Does A Hibiscus Mealybug Infestation Cause?
Pink mealybugs are not just tiny insects living on the trees. They are dangerous pests that can cause serious damage to the host plant.
When the mealybug feeds off the plant’s sap, it injects its toxic saliva into the plant.
This saliva damages the plants and results in stunted growth and malformed or disfigured leaves.
The leaves start to curl, black sooty mold and honeydew covers the leaves and, eventually, the plant dies.
Keep in mind that these bugs can cover short distances on the ground to find new host plants.
This is why hibiscus mealy bug hardly ever remain limited to individual plants. They crawlers attack Oleander, Coleus, Gardenia and other ornamentals.
When left untreated these pests can cover large areas of the plants and, sometimes, entire trees with white wax.
If your plants are infected, you can forget about the fruit or flowers!
How To Control Pink Hibiscus Maconellicoccus hirsutus
While it is possible to get rid of Hibiscus Mealybugs, it can be hard to eliminate them once they have had a chance to spread.
Here’s how to control Pink Mealybugs.
Biological Control – Beneficial Insects and Natural Predators
The ‘lady beetle” called the Mealybug Destroyer Cryptolaemus montrouzieri feeds on all stages of the mealybug.
This beetle established in states such as Florida and is commercially available. The Ladybug, lacewing, and parasitic wasps also eat aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies and other garden insect pests.
- Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and swab the mealybugs with it. Make sure that the alcohol penetrates the white wax to come in contact with the bugs.
- Scratch the Mealybugs off the leaves using the other side of the cotton swab. You can also use a toothpick.
- Repeat the process for egg masses.
- Collect the scraped material in a sealed bag and dispose of away from other plants.
Soap Spray Insecticides
- Use an insecticidal soap solution or Neem oil to spray the plants including the leaves including the undersides of leaves and the stems.
- Make sure that the temperature is below 90° degrees Fahrenheit when you spray. Also, move the plant away from light.
- Water the plant regularly to make sure it does not get damaged due to soap spray.
- Apply once a week until you effectively get rid of Hibiscus Mealy bugs.
Remember, it is not impossible to get rid of Maconellicoccus hirsutus green Mealybugs. However, it will require some time and a lot of patience!