Mealybug Pest Solution: Cryptolaemus, Leptomastix and other parasitoids

Cryptolaemus Description

CryptolaemusCryptolaemus (Pronounced CRIP-TOE-LEE-MUS) is a black or dark brown ladybird with an orange head and tail, it is about 4mm in length and originally from Australia.

It's larvae are white and look rather like very large mealybugs, up to 1cm in length, with a waxy covering, they are more mobile than mealybug.

Cryptolaemus Life Cycle

Cryptolaemus Life CycleEgg to adult takes about 25 days at 30ºC or 72 days at 18ºC. Females start laying eggs about 5 days after emerging as adults, they lay single eggs into the woolly mealybug egg masses, and lay about 10 eggs a day, they can lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime, they need a plentiful food supply to maintain egg production.

The larvae hatch out as voracious predators of mealybugs. Young larvae and adults prefer the smaller stages of mealybug, whereas the large larvae will eat mealybugs of any size. If mealybug is in short supply, Crytpolaemus may also eat young scales insects.

Cryptolaemus Usage

  • Being a predator Cryptolaemus prefers quite high levels of mealybug.
  • Cryptolaemus is only suitable for use in a greenhouse or conservatory.
  • Cryptolaemus is a strong flier so if lots of vents and doors are left open near to the treated plants they need to be netted over to prevent the Cryptolaemus from escaping.
  • Cryptolaemus should be released on the day of receipt, preferably in the cooler part of the day.
  • Cryptolaemus need the woolly egg masses of mealybugs in which to lay their eggs. Species that do not produce these may not be controlled. They will not control root mealybug.
  • Cryptolaemus work best in the summer and require a temperature of at least 20ºC (68ºF) for a few hours a day, good levels of sunlight are required.
  • Cryptolaemus prefer landing on bushy, leafy plants and may be less effective on climbers and cacti.
  • Like all Defenders biological controls, Cryptolaemus is harmless to children, pets and wildlife and will not become a pest in its own right.

Leptopmastix Description

Leptomastix (Pronounced LEP-TOE-MASS-TICKS) are tiny yellow to black wasps, about 3mm long. They are parasites of the citrus and vine mealybug species.  Other parasitoids are supplied with Leptomastix.  These specialize on different species of mealybug or on different stages of the life cycle.

Leptomastix Life Cycle

Female adults lay their eggs in nearly fully grown mealybugs. The parasitised mealybug becomes swollen and brown in colour, finally becoming "mummified".

The emerging adult Leptomastix cut a small circular hole in one end of the "mummy" from which they emerge.

The life cycle takes about 4 weeks at 20ºC (68ºF) and 2 weeks at 30ºC.

Leptomastix Usage

  • Leptomastix are best used in conjunction with Cryptolaemus.
  • They are only suitable for use in a greenhouse or conservatory.
  • Temperatures above 25ºC (77ºF) are required, along with good levels of sunlight.
  • Leptomastix are better at searching out isolated patches of mealybugs than Cryptolaemus.
  • They cannot be stored and should be used on the day of receipt.
  • Like all Defenders biological controls, they are harmless to children, pets and wildlife and will not become a pest in their own right.

Biological Mealybug Control Product Details

Defenders supply Cryptolaemus and Leptomastix in tubes, the products are simply released in the area to be treated.

Product Name

Area Treated

Product Code

25 Cryptolaemus Adults

Sufficient to treat an area of at least 5 square metres where several plants species are affected.

Cryp25A

10 Cryptolaemus Adults

Sufficient to treat an area of approx. 2-5 square metres where several plant species are affected.

Cryp10A

25 Cryptolaemus Larvae

Sufficient to treat an area of at least 5 square metres where several plants species are affected.

Cryp25L

10 Cryptolaemus Larvae

To treat an area of about 2 square metres. For large infestations more may be required.

Cryp10L

Mealybugs Parasitoid Mix 50

Sufficient to treat an area of at least 5+ square metres where several plants species are affected.

MbPMix50

All packs of Cryptolaemus & Leptomastix are sent with complete instructions, and a free information sheet on Biological Mealybug Control entitled "Your Questions Answered"

Remember! Biological controls are living creatures and can be effected by chemical usage. If you've used any persistent pesticides recently check with us before ordering Cryptolaemus or parasitoids. As a general rule stop using pyrethrum 4 days before, derris 1-2 weeks before and soft soap insecticides 1 day before releasing Cryptolaemus or Leptomastix.

WARNING:

ALL PRODUCTS MUST BE RELEASED ON DELIVERY FOR BEST RESULTS