Golden root mealybug

The golden root mealybug, Chryseococcus arecae was first recorded in Britain in 2012. It is a native of New Zealand that unlike other root mealybug species found in Britain can be found on the roots of outdoor plants all year round.

Golden root mealybug © FERA/David Crossley

Golden root mealybug © FERA/David Crossley

Quick facts

Common name Golden root mealybug
Scientific name Chryseococcus arecae
Plants affected Meconopsis, Primula, potentially many other plants
Main symptoms Lack of vigour, yellow mealybugs on roots
Most Active All year

What is golden root mealybug?

Golden root mealybug is a sap feeding insect that feeds on the roots of a wide variety of plants, although it has mainly been found on Meconopsis and Primula in the Britain. Unlike most other mealybug species found in the Britain it is able to survive the winter outdoors.

The golden root mealybug is a recent arrival in the Britain, and has so far been found in Scotland and northern England. In 2019 it was reported from Northern Ireland. The RHS wants gardeners finding this insect in their garden to let them know by sending samples to the Entomology Team, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB. The postcode of the house/garden where the pest has been found should be given, along with the identity of the host plants, or if unknown a sample of the foliage and flowers.

Submissions to our pest and disease surveys are stored permanently in an anonymised form in order to monitor the spread of the pest or disease. We may contact you within 2 months of your submission in order to verify your sighting but your personal data will not be permanently stored in connection with your submission and will be deleted after 1 year. We publish and share only non-identifiable data from survey submissions (such as a six figure grid reference) with third parties and the public for the purposes of scientific research and advancing understanding among gardeners.

Symptoms

You may see the following symptoms:

  • Infestations are usually first noticed when the roots of under performing plants are examined
  • Small (2-3 mm) insects covered in a golden yellow wax attached to the roots. Note: other sap-sucking root insects, e.g. root aphid or other root mealybugs are usually white
  • In its native New Zealand the golden root mealybug is not known to cause serious plant damage. In Britain infestations have been noticed on plants lacking vigour it is not known if the mealybugs were the cause

Control

There are currently no pesticide controls for root mealybugs in the open ground. Heavily infested plants can be removed and burnt or disposed of in council waste.

 


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