Cryptolaemus Ladybird

Cryptolaemus Ladybird

Cryptolaemus montrouzieri - Mealybug Ladybird

The Cryptolaemus Ladybird is a predatory ladybird. It is primarily a mealybug and scale predator, however it will also predate on a variety of alternative prey, including psyllids and aphids.

The Cryptolaemus Ladybird appears to survive and breed all year in New Zealand. Several generations will occur within one year.

In New Zealand we call them ladybirds, much the same as the British do, however in other parts of the world they are known as ladybugs.

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The pest: whitefly (left) & the solution: Encarsia (right)

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Normal whitefly pupa (white) and parasitized pupa (black). An adult Encarsia will emerge from the black scale(right)

The Pest: Mealybugs

Many different species of mealybugs and scale are present in New Zealand, and not all species are necessarily suitable prey for the Cryptolaemus Ladybird. Some mealybug and scale species are quite specific to particular crops, while other species infest a wide range of crops.

Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects that have oval bodies with a waxy coating, males and females have separate lifecycles. Female adult body length is normally 2-3 mm. The mealybugs tend to live in sheltered locations such as pushing up against the veins of plants. During the summer all life stages are found on leaves and fruit, however when the weather becomes colder, they relocate to more sheltered places such as under bark where they continue to reproduce

Three to four generations of mealybugs will typically occur in one year, varying according to seasonal factors and locality.

Symptoms and signs of mealybugs include:

  • Stunting and distortion of the leaves and flowers

  • Yellowing and wilting of leaves

  • Honey dew and sooty mould present on the plants

  • Mealbugs visible on the stem, leaves and flower buds

Life Cycle

The Cryptolaemus Ladybird undergoes an egg and larval stages before pupating and emerging as an adult. Development time from egg to adult takes around 40 days at 25⁰C, and longer at lower temperatures. Adults live for approximately 50 days and in this time lay up to 400 eggs.

Environmental Conditions

Enforce works best at temperatures of 20-28 C, below 18 C the wasp's activity decreases, and temperatures above 38 C are lethal. Temperature is required to be above 10.3C for the Enforce larvae to develop.

Packaging

Enforce is supplied as black parasitized greenhouse whitefly nymphs or black 'scale' on cardboard tags, and the adult wasp emerges from this 'scale'.

Two tag sizes are available:

The Solution: Cryptolaemus Ladybird

The Cryptolaemus Ladybird is a predatory ladybird of about 6mm in length, commonly recognised with the black body and red head.

Adults and larvae are mealybug and scale predators, feeding on all of the pest life stages.

Eggs are tiny and laid singly around areas of higher prey density.

Table of Cryptolaemus prey with host association index (0 to 10, where 10 is highly associated) from the Landcare Plant-SyNZ database (15 July 2017)

Scientific Name Common Name Index
Bactericera cockerelli Tomato potato psyllid 5
Balanococcus diminutus New Zealand flax mealybug 10
Coccus hesperidum Linnaeus Brown soft scale 10
Coelostomidia zealandica Great giant scale 5
Dysmicoccus ambiguus 9
Eriococcus araucariae Maskell Felted pine scale 10
Eriococcus pallidus Maskell Karo felted scale 10
Nipaecoccus aurilanatus Golden mealybug 10
Paracoccus glaucus Long egg-sac mealybug 10
Paraferrisia podocarpi Kahikatea mealybug 10
Parasaissetia nigra Nigra scale 9
Pseudococcus calceolariae Citrophilous mealybug 10
Pseudococcus longispinus Long-tailed mealybug 10
Pulvinaria mesembryanthemi Iceplant scale 10
Saissetia oleae Black scale 10

Our ladybirds are reared in our insectary, we do not collect ladybirds from the wild (for sale) as is practised in other parts of the world.

Release and Storage Instructions

Enforce will not attack adult whiteflies, if you have large numbers of whiteflies present on the plants, it is recommended that a soap spray or other spray with low residual activity (such as neem), is used prior to the first introduction of Enforce. These sprays will kill adult Enforce wasps, so it is not recommended to use these after having introduced the Enforce unless presented with no other option.

Enforce tags need the following handling and treatment:

  • Do not touch the black 'scale' on the tags

  • Do not expose the tags to direct sunlight

  • Hang the tags immediately within the crop,

  • If the tags must be stored, store them in darkness at 10-15 C.

  • DO NOT REFRIGERATE

  • Do not store the tags for more than 2 days

  • Tags come in strips of 10 tags and should be separated and hung individually

  • Hang tags one metre below heads of crop, so the wasps work upwards

  • Hang tags in shade

  • Ensure tags are hung in different places each week

  • Tags should be distributed evenly through the crop

  • Leave tags in crop for at least 14 days

Post Release

Enforce adults will begin to emerge from the black 'scale' on the tags within 2-6 days at 20 C. The black case will stay attached to the tags. A small hole should be visible with a hand lens once the adult has emerged.

After three weeks it is safe to assume all Enforce wasps have hatched, so the tags may be removed if desired.

Within four weeks of release, black 'scale' should be present within your crop, on the lower leaves of your plants. Adult wasps should emerge within 2-3 weeks.

Before introducing Enforce into your crop, please check residual chemical effects and ensure you know chemical compatibilities and products that may be applied.

Before introducing Enforce into your crop, please check residual chemical effects and ensure you know chemical compatibilities and products that may be applied.

Lists of compatible pesticides and persistence periods can be found in the publication "The Good Bug Book", Second edition (2002), editor Richard Llewellyn. Excerpts of the book can be obtained from the Encarsia page of the Australasian Biological Control Association website.