Comstock mealybug

Insect

Comstock mealybug

Pseudococcus Comstocki (Kuwana)

Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Pseudococcidae

Distribution: Most fruit-growing states and provinces in eastern North America.


Adult females and nymphs are generally similar in appearance, having an elongate-oval shape, no wings, a many-segmented body and well-developed legs (A). The legs and antennae are inconspicuous. Body color is reddish brown, but the overall appearance is white because it is covered with wax, particularly in the case of the adult female (B), which additionally has long body filaments (including a pair caudally that are 1/3 as long as the body). The adult male is very small, gnat-like, and transient, so is rarely seen.

  • Crops Affected: Apples, Peaches, Pears

    Damage

    Attacks mainly pear, apple and peach. Adults and nymphs (crawlers) are sap-feeders on green tissue, and congregate in the calyx and stem ends of fruits close to harvest. The pest status of Comstock mealybug derives from both the growth of sooty molds on the honeydew it secretes (C), and from the aesthetic and contaminant problems posed by its presence in processing.

    Management

    Examine terminal growth for crawler activity periodically throughout the summer; use double-sided tape traps on scaffold limbs to document movement towards fruit. An insecticide application can be made in midsummer to prevent fruit infestations if other pest sprays fail to provide incidental control.