small orange bug
Location: Southern California
February 22, 2012 11:41 am
This guy came off a citrus tree in Southern California and is about 1mm in length. Other specimens from the same tree were greenish brown in color covered with a soot much like a mealy bug. I have this one under a microscope with shots top and bottom.
Signature: R. Japp
Dear R. Japp,
While we do not at this time know what this orange bug is that you found on your citrus tree, we don’t believe it to be a beneficial insect. We will take a bit more time to research this identification.
Karl poses a possible identification
Hi Daniel and R. Japp:
I am treading into unfamiliar territory here, but to me this looks a lot like an early instar Cottony Cushion Scale (Icerya purchasi). If that is the correct identification, it is considered a serious pest of citrus crops so there is a fair amount of information available on the internet. For example, you could check out this publication from the University of Arizona College of Agriculture, or this one from the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Here is a link to another set of photos that look quite similar. Although the topside colors are a little darker in this set, the black legs and antennae are apparently a key diagnostic feature for the species. The origin of this insect seems uncertain, possibly Australia, but it has now become global, living wherever citrus crops are grown. Regards. Karl