Rhodesgrass Mealybug

Order/Family: Homoptera/Coccidae

Description:

  • Nymphs and females are covered by a white waxy cottony covering.
  • Females are legless and 1/8-inch long.
  • They have piercing and sucking mouthparts.
  • Males are not known to exist.
  • Larvae (crawlers) have six legs; are 1/32-inch long; and are cream colored with light purple markings.

 

Biology and Habits:

  • They occur in southern states from South Carolina to California.
  • They are active year round.
  • The females do not lay eggs but deposit approximately 150 live crawlers.
  • The crawlers wedge themselves into the base of the grass leaf, insert their mouthparts, and remain immobile.
  • The crawlers molt and mature over a 30-day period under the waxy cover they secrete.
  • In warmer climates, the life cycle (egg to adult) requires approximately two months; there may be as many as five generations per year.

 

Turf Attacked:

  • Bermudagrass and St. Augustine

 

Damage:

  • Stunted growth resulting from mealybugs sucking juices from the leaves and stems which initially turn yellow and later turn brown.

Damage is most severe during dry conditions, and large areas of damaged turf may die.