The Pink Hibiscus Mealybug


PHM Quarterly Report October to December, 2007

PHM Quarterly Report July to September, 2007

PHM Quarterly Report April to June, 2007

PHM Quarterly Report January to March, 2007

PHM Quarterly Report October to December, 2006

A video was provided to the Participants of the following meeting:

Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Workshop

Late-Breaking Emergency Training

June 23-24, 2005 l University of Florida

Entomology & Nematology Department l Gainesville, FL

To view this video click here

Video Credits

This page will change on a regular basis.  We update this page as new information becomes available.

For management information:


The Pink Hibiscus Mealybug in California



Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Survey

PHM Status as of July 27th, 2004

CLICK here for the General Information PowerPoint Presentation (15.1 MB)

CLICK here for the Survey Information PowerPoint Presentation (26.7 MB)

     The two Quick Time movies of the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Training Teleconferences are available at CDs of the presentations will be available in the near future. Individuals interested in receiving copies of the training CDs should send an email to Susan Ratcliffe at that includes quantity desired along with your street address and phone number. Please share this information with others who may be interested in viewing the movies or receiving copies of the CDs.

PHM video

Anagyrus video ( In this clip, the female is seen first and the darker less colorful male is seen at the end).

If you click on the Hover Button above with the right button on your mouse, a download dialogue box will open which will allow you to open or save either presentation (it can take a long time).

CLICK here to download PowerPoint Viewers 

If you would likd a CD, have problems or this version doesn't meet your needs please contact me at:

To view a larger version of any photos on this page just click on the photo. All photos are the property of Lance S. Osborne ( ) and the University of Florida.  Please ask permission before using!  I would appreciate any comments concerning the content of this page (errors, omissions, etc.).

 A list server has been established to foster communication between growers, allied trades, faculty, USDA, DPI and other interested parties.  A list server is an open conversation using e-mail.  One person e-mails a question to PinkMealybug-L and  it is sent to all on the list.  As people respond to the questions and statements they are e-mailed back to all on the list.  This is a good way to get questions answered, quell rumors and to keep up-to-date on this serious pest.

Click Here for Information on how to join!


Photograph by: Marshall Johnson, UC Kearney Agricultural Center.

     This is the Pink Hibiscus mealybugs, Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green).  Notice that there is very little wax on the body, no long tails or waxy projections around the edge, no stripes and this mealybug does produce an egg mass.  When squashed a pink to red fluid is observed.  None of the other mealybugs described in this page has this color body fluid. Photograph by: Dale Meyerdirk, USDA, APHIS.  APHIS has produced a document that compares the physical attributes of various mealybugs.  Click here!

APHIS has also produced a list of plants attacked by PHM.  Click here!

For a list of plants on which PHM has been found in Florida Click here!

Besides hibiscus, Florida trema or nettletree (Trema micranthum (L.) Blume) is the most commonly invested plant in Florida.


To view a series of Florida trema photos, Click here!


In order to view a video of the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug please click here!
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Mealybug colonies that contain immature as well as mature females. In the bottom 6 photographs you should note that the large mature females are darker in color (almost a dark mahogany) and covered with significantly more white waxy material.
  • Color reddish brown or pink
  • Fringe absent
  • No stripes on the back
  • Body fluid dark red 
  • Anal filaments short 
  • Ovisac irregular and beneath the body
EGGMAS1.JPG                              eggsfem.jpg

EGGMAS2.JPG                              eggs1839.jpg

This series of photos contains images of the adult female and an ovisac that has been teased apart to show the eggs. The eggs have a pink to red tinge to them which differs from the more yellow eggs of other mealybug species. This character is no diagnostic by itself in that mealybug eggs have a range or gradient of colors from almost white to pink.
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The color of the body fluids is another characteristic that is used to aid in the identification of this pest. When a large PHM is squashed you will see a red to brownish fluid as seen in these photos. As with the eggs, this character is not diagnostic by itself. Many mealybugs found attacking plants in Florida have body fluids that range from clear to a light yellow or even green. However, there are a number of species that do have reddish fluids: The grape mealybug (reddish-brown), the citrophilus mealybug (wine-purple), and the obscure mealybug (reddish-orange). Many of these species are covered with white wax and have a distinct fringe of waxy filaments around the circumference of their bodies (see photos of other mealybugs.
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The culmination of a sever infestation is defoliation and death of the infested plant material. In this case it was a hedge of hibiscus.
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On closer examination of the remaining foliage, white cottony masses are noted.
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The symptoms of an infestation of PHM on hibiscus would be the distortion of the foliage and flowers. The distance between leaves becomes very short causing the characteristic "Bunchy Top" symptom.
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More characteristic damage.
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     Damage to the flowers


     Cotton infested with PHM.


      This is a photo of the green delta trap that contains a capsule impregnated with the PHM female sex pheromone. These traps are currently being evaluated as a monitoring tool.



EDITED VERSION OF THE USDA-APHIS - Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Report

DATES:   December 28 through February 3, 2003

 DPI personnel conducted biometric survey in numerous sections surrounding the Coral Gables find with no additional sections being reported as positive.  


To date, records indicate a total of 245 sections in Broward County and 137 sections in Miami-Dade County have been formally surveyed.

Positive section totals to date: Broward 66 sections, Miami-Dade 24 sections.


CONTROL:  Puerto Rico is shipping approximately 10,000 parasitoids per week. California sent their last shipment the first week of January and is no longer rearing these types of parasitoids. 


Personnel from DPI made multiple releases in 36 sections.  Releases sites were in the cities of Sunrise, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, SW Ranches, Davie, Coral Gables, unincorporated Miami-Dade, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, and Weston.    


To date, USDA and DPI personnel have made 976 releases in 416 different sites in Miami/Dade and Broward counties.  A total of 300,200 parasitoids have been released thus far.


USDA/DPI FFD trapping personnel are continuing PHM survey and outreach efforts with lawn maintenance and landscape crews while performing trapping duties. USDA/DPI personnel continue to analyze and review data for new release sites.

 PHM Report

 DATES:   April 21 through July 27, 2004

 SURVEY:  DPI inspectors and USDA trapping personnel have detected 54 new positive sections since the last PHM Report. The new sections have been found in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Pinellas, and Collier Counties.

 On April 23, PHM was detected in Homestead by a USDA FFD trapper.  A survey of Homestead and the surrounding areas was immediately conducted.  As a result of the survey, 20 additional STRís in South Miami-Dade County were found to have PHM.  Most of the parasitoids are now being released in the environs in the Homestead/South Dade.  On July 17, PHM was confirmed in Collier County.  An informal survey conducted in the area resulted in five other STRís showing up as positive.  A more intensive survey of Collier County and surrounding areas is set to be conducted the first week of August.

 The following new STRís have been found positive:

  • Miami-Dade County: 36-54-40, 26-54-39, 20-52-41, 1-57-38, 3-54-42, 11-57-38, 5-57-39, 17-57-39, 34-52-41, 28-52-42, 27-55-39, 26-56-39, 20-55-39, 21-55-39, 16-52-42, 28-55-39, 25-56-39, 13-57-38, 11-57-38, 21-57-39, 36-55-38, 16-56-40, 17-56-40, 36-52-41, 24-55-40, 4-54-40, 35-51-42, 13-52-41, 11-52-42, 12-57-38, 7-57-39, 10-52-42, 30-56-40, and 3-56-40.
  • Broward County: 26-51-41, 5-50-40, 8-51-41, 16-49-42, 35-49-41, 29-48-41, 9-51-41, 24-49-42, and 21-51-41.
  • Palm Beach County: 36-44-41 and 3-46-42.
  • Martin County:  38-38-41.
  • St. Lucie County:  32-37-40.
  • Collier County:  7-50-26, 6-50-26, 28-50-26, 31-49-26, 34-50-26, and 34-48-26.
  • Pinellas County:  17-30-16.

 Currently nine counties have PHM; 103 positive sections in Miami-Dade County, 152 sections in Broward County, 12 sections in Palm Beach County, three in Martin, three in St. Lucie, one in Indian River, three in Pinellas, six in Collier County, and one in Hillsborough.

 CONTROL:  Puerto Rico continues to ship approximately 10,000 parasitoids per week. Parasitoids continue to be released in all new positive areas.  Since the inception of the release program in June of 2002 there have been 967,200 parasitoids released.

  MISC:  On July 1st and 2nd, three representatives from the Cayman Islands Department of Agriculture revisited South Florida to view, first hand, the current status of the PHM program.  Presentations of the program relative to parasite release activities, regulation of nurseries and the overall status of the program were provided by DPI and USDA representatives.  Also included in the visit were field trips to several nurseries in the Homestead area.

 USDA/DPI FFD trapping personnel are continuing PHM survey and outreach efforts with lawn maintenance and landscape crews while performing trapping duties.  There has been an increase in the number of calls to the PHM HelpLine.  All of which are promptly investigated.

Prepared by Frank Burgos

PHM Report

DATES:  May 1 through May 31, 2005

SURVEY: Fifteen new positive sections in Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and St Lucie have been detected by FDACS/DPI inspectors and USDA trapping personnel.

The new STRís that have been found positive are listed below.

  • Collier County: 10-50-25; 27-48-26.
  • Lee County: 21-47-25
  • Miami-Dade County: 1-56-38; 6-53-42; 24-53-41; 1-54-39; 21-55-40; 22-52-41.
  • Palm Beach County: 3-45-42; 21-46-42; 21-47-42.
  • St Lucie County: 28-36-40

 To-date, the number of counties with PHM still remains at thirteen; 11 positive sections in Monroe county, 192 positive sections in Miami-Dade county, 185 sections in Broward county, 31 sections in Palm Beach county, 6 in Martin, 5 in St Lucie, 2 in Indian River, 8 in Pinellas, 8 in Lee, 21 in Collier, 10 in Brevard, 1 in Hillsborough and 2 in Orange county.

 CONTROL: Presently, California has resumed its weekly shipment of parasitoids to Florida. The quantities received each week vary. Parasitoids are also being shipped from Puerto Rico. This situation will continue until California has achieved full production.  To-date, 1,376,500 parasitoids have been released.

 Prepared by Gangadai Azore


To obtain information about managing this pest or to view photos of the biological Control agents

Please click herE!





PINK HIBISCUS HOT LINE: 1-888-397-1517


Mealybug   Links USDA-APHIS





More information on mealybugs can be viewed at "Insect and Related Pests of Flowers and Foliage Plants". Click here!


To download a Field Key for ID of arthropods commonly mistaken for pink hibiscus mealybug Click here!

All photos are the property of Lance S. Osborne ( ) and the University of Florida.  Please ask permission before using!  I would appreciate any comments concerning the content of this page (errors, omissions....). 

Lance S. Osborne:
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Revised: Oct. 2015