Blumberg, D., Ben-Dov, Y., & Mendel, Z. 2001 The citriculus mealybug, Pseudococcus cryptus Hempel, and its natural enemies in Israel: History and present situation.. Entomologica 33(1999): 233-242.


  • biological control
  • natural enemies
  • Notes: [Special Issue: Proceedings of the ISSIS VIII International Symposium on Scale Insect Studies held at Wye College (U.K.), Aug. 31st - Sept. 6th, 1998.] The citriculus mealybug, Pseudococcus cryptus Hempel, was first discovered in Israel in 1937 and very rapidly became a key pest of citrus. However, since the early 1940s, the mealybug population has sharply decreased. This occurred in parallel with the establishment of the introduced parasitoid Clausenia purpurea Ishii, which was then believed to be the main cause of the biological control of the mealybug. Since the late 1980s, outbreaks of P. cryptus have been recorded mainly in new citrus varieties, such as red grapefruits, pomelo, "sweety" and several peeling varieties. The current outbreaks are probably related to the susceptibility of these mentioned varieties to P. cryptus, and to the adverse effects of Insect Growth Regulators to coccinellid predators, especially Scymnus spp. The introduced C. purpurea and two other local encyrtid parasitoids, Leptomastix near algirica and Anagyrus diversicornis Mercet, rarely emerged from samples of P. cryptus collected during 1996-1998. Four further parasitoid species were introduced into Israel during 1996-1997 against P. cryptus: from central Asia, the platygasterids Allotropa burrelli Muesebeck and A. convexifrons Muesebeck and the encyrtid, Pseudaphycus malinus Gahan; and from Japan, Anagyrus sawadai Ishii. A. convexifrons and A. sawadai successfully parasitized P. cryptus and, therefore, were released in the field but only A. sawadai has so far been recovered. A considerable reduction in population densities of the pest has been recorded since May, 1998, in the major release site of the latter species.