The biology of three mealybug species (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) found on citrus in the Western Cape Province, South Africa
The biology of Planococcus citri (Risso), Pseudococcus calceolarias (Maskell) and Pseudococcus longispinus (Targioni Tozzetti) on Citrus limon (L.) and Citrus reticulata (Blanco) in the Western Cape Province of South Africa was studied through intensive field-sampling and rearing in the laboratory. P. citri was most common on C. limon while P. longispinus was most abundant on C. reticulata. Fruits of butternut (Cucurbita moshata Duch) and lemon (C. limon) were used as substrates for rearing the three mealybug species in the laboratory. The fecundity of females of all species reared on butternuts was significantly higher than females reared on lemons. Egg viability for the three species was not affected by the rearing substrates. The population density of mealybugs in the field varied significantly between orchards and mealybug species (P < 0.001). No distinct phenological pattern was seen in the field for any of the species. This was due to asynchronous progeny production, resulting in overlap of generations. The implications of these findings for biological control of these mealybugs in citrus orchards in South Africa are discussed.