Mealy Bug Destroyers are imported help that has successfully controlled a pest, making plants everywhere very happy.
The unique white 'hairs' on this tiny bug often draw attention from people. These larvae are extremely useful in pest management. Their name describes both what they eat and what they do to their prey's population.
This species was deliberately imported from Australia in 1892 to help control mealybug infestations on California citrus groves. Mealybugs are cottony looking insects that suck a plant's juices, weakening them, possibly to death. Their abundance was having an economic impact in the agricultural industry. The introduction of the Mealybug Destroyer was successful and, today, it is bred and sold everywhere in North America.
Adult mealybug destroyers look like black lady beetles with brown heads. If they are present in your garden, they are doing your plants a great service.
Scientific Name: Cryptolaemus montrouzieri
Other Name(s): Mealybug Destroyer
Size (Adult; Length): 2mm to 6mm (0.08in to 0.23in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.