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Both adult Cryptolaemus and their larvae are predatory, feeding on all stages of mealybugs.
ABOUT CRYPTOLAEMUS MONTROUZIERI:
Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, also known as the "Mealybug Destroyer," is an Australian ladybug species introduced to the USA in the 1890s specifically to control Citrus Mealybugs in California. These brown ladybugs have an orange head and tail, measuring around 4 mm (1/6 in) in length.
The eggs of Cryptolaemus montrouzieri are yellow and laid directly into the woolly egg mass of mealybugs. The larvae can grow up to half an inch in length, appearing white with waxy filaments covering their bodies.
For best results, release in early Spring.
Temperature: 64°-81°F, avoid temperatures below 50°F
LIGHT INFESTATION: 5-10 beetles per plant, or 100 beetles per tree
HEAVY INFESTATION: 25-35 beetles per plant, or 500 beetles per tree
It's important to note that these release rates serve as general guidelines and may vary based on the specific pest species, the crop or plant being treated, and level of infestation. Proper monitoring of the infestation and the subsequent effectiveness of the released beneficial insect population is crucial for determining the success of the biological control strategy.
Cryptolaemus cannot survive in cold temperatures (below 50°F), and therefore need to be reintroduced where the winter temperatures are too low.
The life cycle of Cryptolaemus montrouzieri typically lasts approximately 7 weeks. Each female adult can lay up to 400 eggs. After hatching from eggs, the larvae undergo 4 instar stages, during which they feed extensively on mealybugs. Once fully developed, the larvae pupate, eventually emerging as adult beetles. The adults continue to feed on mealybugs, further contributing to biological control. Adults live up to 2 months.
It's important to note that these time-frames are approximate and can be influenced by factors such as temperature, humidity, and the availability of prey. Monitoring the development and activity of beneficial insect populations, along with environmental conditions, can help determine the progress and effectiveness of their role in pest control efforts.