Golden root mealybug

The golden root mealybug 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?

Mealybugs are sap sucking true bugs in the family Pseudococcidae, there are species that feed on roots and others on above ground parts of plant. Most cover themselves in a pale waxy material and are under 5mm in length.

Golden root mealybug feeds on the roots of a wide variety of plants, although it has so far 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 Britain, it has been found in Scotland and northern England. and in 2019 it was reported from Northern Ireland.


You may see the following symptoms:

  • Golden root mealybug is 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 aphids 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 populations have been noticed on plants lacking vigour. It is not known if the mealybugs were the cause


There are currently no controls for root mealybugs in the open ground. Healthy plants will tolerate some golden root mealybugs. Heavily affected plants can be removed and disposed of in council waste.


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