The likelihood and consequences of introduction of the spherical mealybug, Nipaecoccus viridis (newstead), into Florida, and its potential effect on citrus production

Denise D. Thomas, Norman C. Leppla


The spherical mealybug, Nipaecoccus viridis (Newstead), is polyphagous and rapidly builds large populations due to its high fecundity and multiple, overlapping generations. It infests several economically important crops, including citrus, and reduces plant vigor, deforms fruit, induces leaf chlorosis, and promotes the growth of sooty mold. Although the spherical mealybug has not yet become established in the continental U.S., it has been intercepted 31 times at ports of entry. The likelihood of its introduction depends on the types and quantities of plants or plant products being imported into the United States and also on actions taken to intercept or rapidly eradicate adventive populations. Since the climate in Florida is conducive to its development, N. viridis ultimately could become established and adversely impact citrus production and export. Nipaecoccus viridis has caused significant losses to citrus producers in other countries and, therefore, has become a regulated pest. Biological control has been the most successful method for managing the spherical mealybug and postharvest phytosanitary treatments could potentially be adapted to clean infested fruit.

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283