Mealybug is a pest that is prevalent in the garden at this time of year. The mealybug, is aptly named, as it is a small insects covered in a white mealy coat. Some have white hairs attached to their bodies (see infestation below on Myoporum).The bugs feed by a sucking action on the juices of the plant.
Mealybugs also attract ants, as they like to feed on an excretion of a sticky substance called honeydew (see droplet of honeydew on mealybug, in image below), which provides a perfect medium for the growth of a fungal disease called sooty mould .
The mild temperatures, high humidity and summer rains are perfect conditions for mealybugs to breed, as eggs hatch every 2-3 weeks. Control of the pest is reliant on breaking this lifecycle. There are 3 types of control; biological, chemical and mechanical. Parasitic wasps have been used for biological control, mechanical treatments involve removal and burning of infected plants and chemical control relies on utilising a proprietary spray available from your garden centre, or local hardware store.
Stay vigilant for the signs of mealy bug in your Gold Coast garden, as an infestation can decimate your precious plants and ruin the aesthetics of the landscape.