by Khudooma Al Na'imi
I noticed that a plant in the back of my lab in Tarif, west of Abu Dhabi, is
infected with the mealy bug insect (Family: Pseudococcidae).
The mealy bug is a serious plant pest that causes the leaves to turn brown and
This insect feeds by sucking nutrients through its mouthparts from the plant and
excreting honeydew drops which attract sooty mold due to the high sugar level.
There are also reports that the insect transmits plant virus. The adult is covered
with a segmented
waxy white layer of filaments (cotton like).
Most plant damage is done by the female which can lay many eggs all over the plant.
There is a symbiotic relationship between ants and mealy bug where the ant
cleans and protects the mealy bug. If you have observed mealy bugs on your
plants, you will likely see ants nearby.