Root Mealybugs

  • Maicykutty Mathew
  • M. Mani


Root mealybugs are several small species of mealybugs found below the soil surface, and feed on root and root hairs in numerous plants. They are also called soil mealybugs and subterranean mealybugs. Infestations frequently are not detected as the pests occur in the soil, and populations are quite slow to develop, with 3–6 months occurring before infestations are easily visible. Careful examination of infested roots will reveal white, cotton-like masses. These white masses contain both mature females and eggs. Infected plants become wilted and stunted with foliar yellowing or chlorosis. They are oval shaped (1/16 to 3/16 of an inch long) that look like they have been covered by flour. Because they are white or light grey in colour, they often resemble small grains of rice. These mealybugs have a thin, uniform waxy coating and lack the terminal wax filaments typical of their foliar-feeding relatives. Root mealybugs are slow moving, sac-like mealybugs with pronounced crosswise grooves. They do not have filaments surrounding their body like many of the foliar feeding mealybugs. Root mealybugs pose serious problem to potted and greenhouse plants and also field crops. The species belonging to genera Geococcus, Rhizoecus, Xenococcus, Chorizococcus, Spilococcus, Spinococcus and Chnaurococcus are known to roots of the plants (Table 69.1).


Diatomaceous Earth Infested Plant Paecilomyces Lilacinus Mulberry Plant Mealybug Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abraham V, Ajith CB, Priyamol S (2000) Krishiyankanam, 6 (4): 5–6 Nair, M.R.G.K., Visalakshi, A. and Koshy, G. 1980. A new root infesting mealybug of coconut. Entomon 5: 245–246.Google Scholar
  2. Addis T, Azerefegne F, Blomme G (2008) Density and distribution of enset root mealybugs on enset. Afr Crop Sci J 16(1):67–74Google Scholar
  3. Addis T, Azerefegne F, Alemu T, Lemawork S, Tadesse E, Gemu M, Blomme G (2010) Biology, geographical distribution, prevention and control of enset root mealybug, Cataenococcus ensete (Homoptera:Pseudococcidae) in Ethiopia. (Special Issue: Bananas, Plantains and ensete II.). Tree and Forestry Science and. Biotechnology 4(1):39–46Google Scholar
  4. Alves VS, Moino Junior A, Santa-Cecilia LVC, Rohde C, da Silva MAT (2009) Revista Brasileira de Entomologia 53(1):139–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anonymous (2011) Directory of concluded projects (1943 – 2010). Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute, Berhampore, 226pGoogle Scholar
  6. Bekele T (2001) Insecticidal screening against enset root mealybug, Paraputo spp. Agric Topia 16(2):2–3Google Scholar
  7. Ben-Dov Y (1994) A Systematic Catalogue of the Mealybugs of the World (Insecta: Homoptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae and Putoidea) with data on geographical distribution, host plants, biology and economic importance. Intercept Limited, Andover (GB) 686 pGoogle Scholar
  8. Biswas S, Das D, Chattopadhyay S, Das SK, Mondal K (2002) Root mealybug (Paraputo sp.) of mulberry in Darjeeling hills: Its severity, Biology and Control. Sericologia 42(1):39–48Google Scholar
  9. Das D, Biswas S, Sarkar S, Das SK, Chakrabarti (2004) Population dynamics of the root mealybug, Paraputo sp. on mulberry in the hills of Darjeeling. Sericologia 44(1):95–100Google Scholar
  10. Devasahayam S, Abdulla Koya KM, Ananaraj M, Thomas T, Preethi N (2010) Distribution and ecology of root mealybugs associated with black pepper (Piper nigrum L.) in Karnataka and Kerala, India. Entomon 34(3):147–154Google Scholar
  11. EU (2000) Council Directive 2000/29/EC of 8 May 2000 on protective Rhizoecus hibisci 367 ©2005 OEPP/EPPO, Bulletin OEPP/EPPO bulletin 35, pp 365–367Google Scholar
  12. Godfrey LD, Pickel C (1998) Seasonal dynamics and management schemes for a subterranean mealybug, Rhizoecus kondonis Kuwana, pest of alfalfa. Southwest Entomol 23(4):343–350Google Scholar
  13. Green EE (1933) Notes on some Coccoidae from Surinam, Dutch-Guiana, with descriptions ofnew species. Stylops J Taxon Entomol 2:49–58Google Scholar
  14. Hamon AB (1982) Rhizoecus arabicus Hambleton, a root mealybug in Florida (Homoptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae). Entomology Circular, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 238, 2 pGoogle Scholar
  15. Hara AH, Nino-DuPonte RY, Jacobsen CM (2001) Root mealybugs ofquarantine significance in Hawaii. Cooperative Extension Service, CTAHR, University of Hawaii, ManoaGoogle Scholar
  16. Hata TY, Hara AH, Hu BKS (1996) Use of a systemic insecticide granule against root mealybugs, Hawaii. In: Arthropod management tests, Vol. 21, p.382. Entomological Society of America, LanhamGoogle Scholar
  17. Hu BKS, Hara AH, Hata TY (1996) Hot water as a potential treatment against root mealybugs, Hawaii, 1995. In: Arthropod Management Tests, Vol. 21, pp. 382–383. Entomological Society of America, LanhamGoogle Scholar
  18. Jansen MGM (2003) A new species of Rhizoecus on bonsai trees. Tijdschrift voor Entomol 146:297–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kawai S, Takagi K (1971) Descriptions of three economically important species of root feeding mealybugs in Japan (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae). Appl Entomol Zool 6:175–182Google Scholar
  20. Mathew MP, Beena S, Sowmya KC, Aipe KC (2010) Studies on Paecilomyces lilacinus, an entomopathogen on Root mealy bug of Banana’ in Global conference on banana organized by AIPPUB, ICAR, Bioversity International and NRCB, Trichy, during 10–13 December 2010Google Scholar
  21. Montanucci RR (2010) A safe procedure for eradicating root mealybugs from a cactus collection. Cactus Succ J 82(4):184–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mukhopadhyay SK, Das D, Santha Kumar MV, Das NK, Mondal K, Bajpai AK (2010) Weather based forewarning of root mealybug, Paraputo sp. in mulberry of Kalimpong hills. J Plant Protect Sci 2(2):85–87Google Scholar
  23. Muthukrishnan TS, Nagaraja Rao KR, Subramanian TR, Janaki IP, Abraham EV (1958) Brief notes on a few crop pests noted for the first time in Madras. Madras Agric J 45:363–364Google Scholar
  24. Nair MRGK, Visalakshi A, Koshy G (1980) A new root-infesting mealy bug of coconut. Entomon 5(3):245–246Google Scholar
  25. OEPP/EPPO (1994) EPPO Standard PM 3/54 Growing plants in growing medium prior to export. Bull OEPP/EPPO Bull 24:326–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Puttarudriah M, Eswaramurthy (1976) Planococcoides robustus, a mango root mealybug and its control. Curr Res 5(12):205–207Google Scholar
  27. Singh TVK, Goud TR, Azam KM (1986) Attack of mealybug, Dysmicoccus breviceps on groundnut. Indian J Entomol 48(3):358Google Scholar
  28. Smitha MS, Mathew MP (2010a) Population dynamics of the root mealybugs, Geococcus spp. (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) infesting banana in Kerala. Entomon 35(3):163–167Google Scholar
  29. Smitha MS, Mathew MP (2010b) Management of root mealybugs, Geococcus spp. In banana cv. Nendran. Pest Manag Hortic Ecosyst 16(2):108–119Google Scholar
  30. Smitha MS, Mathew MP (2011) In vitro assays on the influence of selected pesticides on the growth parameters of entomopathogen, Hirsutella sp. Indian J Entomol 73(4):343–345Google Scholar
  31. Smitha MS, Mathew MP, Thomas J, Ushakumari R, Nair S (2005) Root mealybug, Geococcus citrinus: a to banana cultivation in Kerala. Insect Environ 11(3):112–113Google Scholar
  32. Sridhar V, Joshi S, Jhansi Rani B, Kumar R (2012) First Record of the Lantana Mealy bug, Phenacoccus parvus Morrison (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae) as a Pest of China Aster, Callistephus chinensis (L.) Nees from south India. J Hortic Sci 7:108–109Google Scholar
  33. Tadesse E, Azerefegne F, Alemu T, Blomme G, Addis T (2010a) The effect of insecticides against the root mealybug (Cataenococcus ensete) of Ensete ventricosum in Southern Ethipia. (Special Issue: Bananas, Plantains and ensete II.). Tree and Forestry Science and. Biotechnology 4(2):95–97Google Scholar
  34. Tadesse E, Azerefegne F, Alemu T, Addis T, Blomme G (2010b) Studies on the efficacy of some selected botanicals against ensete root mealybug (Cataenococcus ensete) Williams and Matile-Ferrero (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) (Special Issue: Bananas, Plantains and ensete II.). Tree and Forestry Science and. Biotechnology 4(2):91–94Google Scholar
  35. Ventataramaiah GH, Rehman PA (1989) Ants associated with the mealybugs of coffee. Indian Coff 43:13–14Google Scholar
  36. Williams DJ (1985) Hypogeic mealybugs of the genus Rhizoecus (Homoptera: Coccoidea) in India. J Nat Hist 19(2):233–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kerala Agricultural UniversityTrichurIndia
  2. 2.Indian Institute of Horticultural ResearchBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations