Bug Index  



Mealybug destroyer

Mealybug Destroyers are small beetles that kill aphids, mealybugs, and other small, soft bodied insects. Aphids and mealybugs are considered pests or bad bugs because they kill garden plants by sucking the juices out of them. Mealybug Destroyer beetles kill aphids and mealybugs in a very unique way. Each adult female Destroyer lays hundreds of eggs that mix with aphid and mealybug eggs. When the aphids and mealybugs hatch, the baby Destroyer beetles eat all the hatching mealybugs and aphids. Adult Mealybug Destroyers also kill aphids and mealybugs.

The mealybug destroyer is a small (1/5 inch) black lady beetle with a tan front end and a huge appetite for mealybugs and other small, soft bugs. This beetle was imported into the United States in 1891 from Australia by a biologist who was experimenting with controlling bad bugs by using beneficial bugs. The scientist, Albert Koebele, was trying to get rid of mealybugs on the citrus trees (orange and grapefruit trees) in California. Though the Mealybug Destroyer beetle really helped to get rid of mealybugs in citrus trees, it could not survive the winter. Mealybug Destroyer beetles must live in warm climates.

Because the Mealybug Destroyer beetles can not live over the winter, they are grown and kept safe in warm places by gardeners and scientists . When they are big enough, Mealybug Destroyer beetles are released into orange and citrus groves during the warmer months. Gardeners often buy them to live in greenhouses and protect plants. The mealybug destroyer is kept in greenhouses because it will kill aphids and mealybugs that often destroy greenhouse plants. Mealybug Destroyer beetles are beneficial bugs because they protect citrus groves, gardens, and greenhouses from bad bugs, like aphids and mealybugs, that destroy plants .

mealy bug in habitat

Adult female beetles lay their eggs among the cottony egg sack of adult female mealybugs. Eggs hatch into larvae in about 5 days when they are kept at 80F or more. These larvae, whose waxy covering makes them look almost like mealybugs, feed on mealybug eggs and young crawlers. 

Below is a picture of an adult Mealybug-Destroyer eating Mealybugs. Mealybugs are small,  cottony-looking insects with piercing/sucking mouth parts. They suck the fluids from leaves and stems, robbing plants of essential nutrients. Leaves wither and yellow and may drop from the plant. Indoors. Mealybugs thrive in a warm, dry environment and may produce several new generations each year.