Submitted to: Insecta Mundi
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/13/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The pink hibiscus mealybug is a serious pest in many parts of the world where it causes serious damage to crops such as grapes, cotton, and guava. In ornamentals it is particularly destructive to hibiscus. Many believe that introduction of this pest into the United States is only a matter of time. One of the problems in recognition of the species is that only the adult female and adult male are well illustrated and described. The purpose of this paper is to provide illustrations and diagnoses of each life stage of the mealybug to facilitate rapid discovery of the species if it is introduced to the U.S. Also included are characteristics that can be used to distinguish the pink hibiscus mealybug from all other common pest species. This information is important for rapid recognition of the species and will assist in the development of pest management strategies and will be helpful to nursery personnel, biological control experts, and pest management specialists.
Technical Abstract: The pink hibiscus mealybug Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green) has spread rapidly in the tropical and subtropical areas of the new world especially thoughout the Caribbean Islands. There is concern that it soon will be introduced into the United States and measures to control it have been developed. All instars of the pink hibiscus mealybug are described and illustrated to facilitate discovery of infestations if it manages to invade the United States. Comparisons with other common pest species are provided for most of the eight instars and a table is included that distinguishes the pink hibiscus mealybug from other pest species in the field.