Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Attack of the destroyers
This mess is the by-product of a rampant mealybug infestation that is hitting the araucaria trees hard at the arboretum right now. They are losing lots of needles and branches over this.
See all the little white things all over this tree? You can click the picture to see them better. They are all juvenile Mealybug Destroyers, (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri), a beneficial insect that eats the mealybugs. Recently, they have been all over the trees in great numbers. I'm not sure if they're coming or going. They are of a size that they might be ready to pupate soon.
Their bodies are covered with white waxy secretions that resemble their mealybug prey. I couldn't find any actual mealybugs, just the mess all over the branches and stuff.