Pink hibiscus mealybug is known as Maconellicoccus hirsutus.
It is a very serious kind of pest which is mostly found in sub-tropical and tropical regions including Southeast Asia, northern Australia and Africa. For the very first time, this pest was found in the Caribbean in 1994.
After that, it was found in some other countries too and then it started spreading with great speed. It is known by many names but the pink hibiscus mealybug is the most common one. It attacks different plants like pea, cucumber, beets, beans, cabbage, tomato, pepper, pumpkin, asparagus etc. The crop is directly related to the ratio of pink hibiscus mealybug.
If the pink hibiscus mealybug is under control, then the crop production can be increased easily.
Everyone knows that pest production can affect the growth rate of the crops to a tremendous level. It is not only pest but there are so many others too which are very harmful but it is specified for some crops and these crops are very beneficial.
Side Effects of Pink Hibiscus Mealybug:
The major effect of pink hibiscus mealybug is that it can affect the growth rate to a high extent which is very bad in all ways.
- It can make the roots of the plant very weak by its action and as a result the plant loses its strength.
- It attacks on the leaves and they start getting rotten.
- It has really bad impacts on the stem too.
- The plant growth becomes stunted due to its effect.
- The fruits formed are always in deformed shape which looks really bad.
- It can cause the plant death too if it attacks severely because all the plant parts lose their strength.
- It can affect the economy too because all those plants whom it attacks are economically really important.
- It can cause the sooty mold on plants.
- It covers the plants with shiny honeydew.
Some Good Effects of Pink Hibiscus:
- This is used for sharpening the memory.
- It is used in the cosmetic world which can make your complexion better to good extent.
- Its extracts are used because it causes the removal of dead cells.
- It causes cell turnover.
- It can remove the unpleasant marks from skin.
- It has rich antioxidants in it which are very beneficial in different fields.
- It can limit the damage of free radicals.
- It can cure premature aging symptoms.
- It is suitable to apply on all skin types even on sensitive skin too because it is not very harsh.
- It accelerates so many processes which are important for skin renewing.
The life cycle of Pink Hibiscus Mealybug:
Firstly, it finds the suitable host plant so that it can attack that plant easily. After searching for a plant, its cycle consists of almost 23 – 30 days.
This time period is neither very short nor that much long. It has a very high rate of reproduction as the females can easily deposit almost 600 eggs at a time.
Their generation gap is not that long because they can have 15 generations in the time duration of a year.
The population of this pest increases at a very fast rate. Its eggs are laid in bark services, under bark, in soil, leaf scars, inside clusters of fruit or crumpled leaf and tree holes too.
Their life consists of eggs completely as the females lay eggs in huge amounts. There are only a few pests who take a very long time to reproduce till their birth. The crawlers who are immature take the time duration of 6 weeks to change into the adults.
The growth rate depends upon the humidity, temperature and the other species which are found in surroundings.
Reproduction also depends on the nitrogen amount because the host plant which has high content of nitrogen is more likely to get attacked by pests. Males are neutral creatures as they don’t cause any kind of harm to plants and they are winged.
Adults are very small as their body is pinkish and covered with waxy secretion. The filaments which are waxy look very short.
The females have while wax which is mealy. When the adults crush, then their body fluids also appear as pink.
The adult males are smaller in size than the females. The males have a pair of wings and they are reddish brown in color. Males also have long two waxy tails. So males are winged and tailed while females are not.
The lifespan of females is shorter than that of males as they die earlier. The females die after the egg deposition and thus the duty of the next generation starts. The color of eggs is orange at the start when they are newly laid and the color changes into pink before they undergo the hatching process.
There are some sacs in which eggs are found and they are called egg sacs. The nymphs are mostly dispersed by wind flow and thus they reach different plants.
And then they attack the plant to weaken its strength. At the end, the plant loses all its strength and becomes dead.
Damages Done by Pink Hibiscus Mealybug:
Everyone knows that this pest is a big problem for agriculture but at the same time it causes problems for other fields too.
This pest also attacks other plants which are ornamental and present in yards or parks. It basically gets its feeding from the soft tissues of plants and then injects saliva into them which causes the harmful effects and thus the cycle starts.
The saliva causes the contortion and curling of leaves. The shot tip development or either the full plant growth is stunted.
The plant can form a bushy look too because of its attack. The mealybug promotes the formation of honeydew glow which causes the formation of sooty black mold. The high amount of mealybug can kill the whole plant easily.
It Is possible that in severe cases, the buds will not produce flowers and the stem will wilt. Those trees which are weak or in the seedling process are more susceptible to the attack as they have less resistance towards any pest and it is easy to get over them.
The curling of leaves is the major symptom and it is common in so many pest attacks. The mealybug attacks on so many plants at a time so that its survival chances are more than usual.
On hibiscus, the mealybug attack can cause the twisting of young twigs which inhibits the terminal growth of the plant. The internodes are shortened and twigs are thickened as the result. The leaves are deformed which causes the plant to look bad. The plant starts looking ugly.
It is very important to control any pest as it can save the economy and plant growth. It is very important to learn how you can survive with the pests. The plant should be strong enough to bear any pest or other disease.
The natural enemies which are native tell about some controls. The pest can be controlled with rearing, importation, establishment and release of natural host specific enemies. This method of control is called a biological classic control process.
These natural enemies do exist and they offer important control. There is a beetle which is used to control mealybug production and it is commercial too.
It is found in Florida and named as Cryptolaemus montrouzieri the release rate of this important ladybug is still unknown because no one has experimented with its rate. The beetle can easily control the pest production over large areas but its action in lower and small areas is still unknown. It is because this ladybug needs a huge amount of mealybugs for its survival.
This mealybug is really good for the biological classical control process as the one thing survives by eating the other harmful thing and the plant is saved from dangerous effects.
This ladybug is not the only species to attack the mealybug as there are so many others too but this ladybug is easily available. The time duration of classical control is less and that is why it is most preferable so that the plant is free from all harmful pests in no time. The eating speed of beetles is very fast.
While the other control processes may take years to end the pests from a field which is a very long duration and in that time the crop or plant will be completely destroyed or weakened.
There are so many scientists who have worked on the control process of pink hibiscus mealybug and all have suggested biological classical control.
Thus, by providing the natural enemies to the pest, you can easily end the pests from the field and as a result, your field is pest free and natural enemies of pests are also strong. In this condition, both get benefit and only pests are harmed.