Mealybugs

Mealybugs are oval-shaped, segmented, soft-bodied insects covered with white, mealy wax. They are often found between touching fruit, under the calyx or in the 'navels' of oranges, producing honeydew on which sooty mould can grow.

Plant Part: Sheltered/confined areas of the branches and even young buds.

Season: All seasons but more prominent in summer and autumn.

Symptoms: Mealybugs have piercing or sucking mouthparts that they insert into the plant to feed.

Feeding weakens and stunts plants, causes leaf distortion and with spherical mealybugs, shoots may twist if the infestation is heavy.

Large quantities of honeydew are produced by mealybug, which can turn black with the growth of sooty mould fungus. They thrive in warm moist conditions congregating in plant joins. Ants will be attracted to the honeydew secretions of this pest, so if you find lots of ants on your tree, put your detective hat on and go on the hunt for the cause.

Control: Spraying with Eco oil or Eco Neem (always follow directions) will help keep mealybugs under control.

Preventative: Attracting beneficial insects like lady bugs and wasps to your garden will help control these pests. As will keeping your Fruit Salad Tree well looked after as plants under stress are more likely to be targeted by this little pest. If at any stage your tree is looking a little worse for wear a dose of fish/seaweed mix will generally pep them right up.

References: Bugs for Bugs, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Department of Primary Industries WA, and the FST team.

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