What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Rather than having to do attachments, if you could just take a look at my blog post and let me know what these things are and what I can do about them, I’d really appreciate it. You’re welcome to copy any of the bug photos if you want to post on your site. thanks!

From Nancy’s Blog: So what do I do when I finally get a Saturday off? I get a headache of course! No really, I planned on being very productive today and getting a lot done around the house, but I got a headache and feel like taking it easy. I am getting one thing done. I went out and photographed some bugs in an attempt to identify what’s killing the hackberry tree in my yard. I think that they’re a mealybug of some sort, but if anyone knows what these are for sure and how to treat them then please let me know. The tree is about 25 feet high so I hope there is a solution other than spraying. Warning: if you really don’t like creepy crawly things then you might want to skip this post. It isn’t a photography post so you won’t miss much. I was really interested in all sorts of creatures when I was little. I’d dig up worms and scout for interesting bugs. My mom even found me trying to pull a snake out of his hole once. Unfortunately, I’m not quite as fearless now, but I still think it’s really interesting what you can find when you just stop and look around. The culprit eating my tree is small and white, and it seems to be working its way in from the tips of the branches. It apparently produces these white cocoon looking things and then moves on to another spot. The white secretion seems to start around the head so I’m assuming it isn’t an egg sack, but I could be wrong. For all I know, this could be one bug eating the egg sack of another. The mobile white bugs themselves aren’t as easy to find as the white aftermath. I’m not sure what this is, but it looks like it’s making its own little white mess. I put it near one of the larger bugs for comparison.

Mealybug and Scale Insect Scale Insect

While looking for the white bugs, I ran into this little guy running up and down the branch. When he found one of the brown scales, he stopped and seemed to be eating it. He was also interested in the white aftermath. He looks a bit like a caterpillar, but it is very small and has little legs that it runs on (unlike a caterpillar). I got a shot of an ant running over him for size comparison.

Ladybird Larva Ladybird Larva

Hi Nancy,
You have quite an ecosystem thriving on your Hackberry Tree. The brown insect with the white mass appears to be an hermaphroditic female Scale Insect in the family Margarodidae. It does not however look like a Cottony Cushion Scale as depicted on BugGuide but might be a related species. Your white insect does appear to be a Mealybug, another plant pest. Your third insect looked to us like a Ladybird Beetle Larva, a predator that is probably feeding on some of the pests. When we checked on BugGuide, the match is a Twice Stabbed Ladybird, Chilocorus stigma. BugGuide has a great image of larva, pupa and adult Twice Stabbed ladybirds feeding on Scale Insects. We don’t give extermination advice. We would recommend a trip to a good local nursery and NOT using a broad band pesticide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

2 Responses to Plant Pests Mealybug and Scale Insects, and predator Twice Stabbed Ladybird Beetle Larva

  1. george says:

    what home remedies do you suggest for the mealybug?

  2. T. Wu says:

    I want to buy “Twice Stabbed Lady Beetles” (or their eggs), or other benificial bugs that eat (attack) Cottony Scales. Can anybody help?

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