Coffee mealybug has been reported in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It has been found in Africa, Australia, Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
This species has been reported on over 35 plant families. Within the Palmae family, it has been reported in Cocos nucifera and Phoenix dactylifera.
The mealy wax that covers the body appears in thick, almost segmental clumps. The female body is round in shape, and brownish-red or tan in color when fully mature. Younger females are a maroon color. Body color is visible underneath the waxy covering. A central long strip appears on its back, and it has 18 lateral wax filaments. Legs are present and well developed. Eggs develop within the female, and females give ‘live birth’ to the crawler life stage. It may be difficult to differentiate coffee mealybug from other mealybugs in the field. For a pictorial guide of mealybugs and similar insects occurring in the Southeastern U.S., go to http://www.ncipmc.org/alerts/phmb/mealybugs.pdf
General Plant Damage:
Coffee mealybug attacks mainly the fruit, stem and foliage of the host, but it has also been reported on roots. In palms, it can be found on coconut palm peduncles, where it causes drying of the inflorescence and shedding of the button.
Submitting Suspect Samples:
Coffee mealybug may result in either state or federal regulatory actions as this species is not known to occur in the continental U.S. Any suspicious specimens should be submitted to your local diagnostic lab (http://www.npdn.org/), or items of concern should be reported to your local state department of agriculture (SDA) If you are not familiar with your local SDA, you may go to an interactive state map available at: http://nationalplantboard.org/member/index.html. Note that the USDA-APHIS-PPQ and your local SDA may need to implement a quarantine or eradication program if this pest is detected in low population levels. Proper identification and slide-mounted, species-level confirmation is necessary in order to confirm the presence of coffee mealybug.
- Hodges, A., G. Hodges, L. Buss, and L. Osborne. Mealybugs and Mealybugs Look-Alikes of Southeastern United States. Found at: http://www.ncipmc.org/alerts/phmb/mealybugs.pdf
- Howard, F.W., Moore, D., Giblin-Davis, R.M., and Abad, R.G. 2001. Insects on Palms. CABI Publishing. Oxon, UK.
- USDA- ARS & APHIS. Scale Insects: Identification Tools for Species of Quarantine Significance. Found at: http://www.sel.barc.usda.gov/scalenet/scalenet.htm . Last Update 08/2007.