A Multi-Purpose Predator Associates Insectary hand-raises and sells millions of this highly adaptable beetle each year. Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, commonly known as the Mealybug Destroyer beetle, attacks a wide variety of soft bodied pests, such as scales, psyllids and aphids, and of course, mealybugs. Cryptolaemus beetles are an important agent used for the control of Pink Hibiscus mealybug (Maconellicoccus hirsutus) throughout Central and South America.

Mealybugs are the common name of insects in Pseudococcidae family. They are a serious problem on many agricultural crops and ornamental plants around the world. Mealybugs feed on plant sap and excrete a sugary liquid which covers leaves and fruit with black “sooty mold.” Uncontrolled mealybug infestations not only reduce yield, but lead to leaf drop and plant stress or even death.

For more than 120 years, Cryptolaemus beetles have been widely recognized as the most practical and effective control agent of most mealybug pests. Its many benefits include:
• Can feed and reproduce on many types of mealybugs and scales
• Unlike parasites, predators can continue to feed even when some ants are present
• Aggressively attacks mealybug eggs and young life stages of many pests
• Able to quickly reproduce in high numbers when pests are numerous
• Juvenile and adult beetles of both sexes attack pests

Vine Mealybug (VMB) Predator Mealybug Destroyer beetles feast on VMB eggs and also attack most other stages of Vine mealybug (Planococcus ficus). When conditions are right for Anagyrus parasitoids, they can be combined with the Mealybug Destroyer beetles to provide an effective one-two punch against this serous vineyard pest. Mealybug Destroyers are also effective at controlling Vine mealybug in vineyards, even when ants are active which renders Anagyrus wasps ineffective.

Effective ACP Predator? The predatory skills of Coccinellidae Ladybird beetles, such as Cryptolaemus, are proving to be an important factor in suppression of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) infestations at grove locations being studied by researchers. Although various predators each contribute to this suppression, Mealybug Destroyer beetles are the only predator to remain moderately effective when ants are also present in the citrus trees. This ability to avoid disruption of feeding by ants means that Cryptolaemus beetles are the only predator to reliably continue to feed in the 80% of citrus trees estimated to have ants active in them. The revelation that predators are an important factor in ACP suppression lends support to Associates Insectary’s long-term strategy of integrated suppression and/or control of Asian citrus psyllid as a cost effective program for our grower-members.

The “Rodney Dangerfield” of Beneficials Over the past 120 years of research, numerous exotic wasps and other beetles have been touted to supposedly perform their mealybug control duties much better than the “lowly” Mealybug Destroyer beetle could. Even though the popularity of those wasps have come and gone over the years, Cryptolaemus beetles are still in demand all over the world as a reliable mealybug bio-control agent. More than one hundred years of success have proven that Mealybug Destroyer beetles are a practical, economical, and long-term solution to many different pest problems. Associates Insectary is the ONLY producer of Mealybug Destroyer beetles in the U.S. and has the experience and the ability to ship large numbers of healthy beneficial insects overnight/express to customers worldwide.

For more information about purchasing Cryptolaemus beetles or membership with Associates Insectary, email info@associatesinsectary.com

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