Bugged by Pink Hibiscus Mealybugs in SW Florida?
ArtisTree continues to watch for Pink Hibiscus mealybugs in the Sarasota region, only this year we seem to be seeing more of them in new-construction areas. “When we get a call on possible PHM activity, it’s more often than not from a newer community,” says ArtisTree Lawn & Ornamental Manager Tim White. “Not sure exactly why unless they’re coming in on new plants, but we’re staying vigilant.”
Despite its name, Pink Hibiscus mealybugs eat more than just Pink Hibiscus. Other ornamental plant species they like to feed on include allamanda, bougainvillea, crotons, ixoras and oleander. The good news is that the healthier your plants are, the less likely they’ll be on the lunch menu. Pink Hibiscus mealybugs gravitate to susceptible plants with weakened stems or leaves. That said, they enjoy gnawing on newly sprouted twigs, too.
Signs You Have Pink Hibiscus Mealybug
Signs that you have a PHM problem are easy to spot. You’ll see cotton-like masses on parts or all of your PHM-susceptible plants. These white masses are actually the soft-bodied mealybugs. Look for leaves that are crinkled or twisted. You might see unopened flowers or leaves that shrivel and die.
- Don’t cut plants that you think have Pink Hibiscus mealybugs. Plant movement caused by trimming coupled with Florida breezes are the two easiest ways it spreads.
- ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design encourages biocontrol methods by relying on ladybugs and small wasp-like parasites that have been released in Florida over the years.
What about insecticides? While using them can help control PHM, they will also kill the mealybug-eating parasites. It’s a very fine line to walk, so consult with your landscape-maintenance provider. If ArtisTree maintains your HOA community, your plant conditions are monitored throughout the year according to contract specifications. ArtisTree follows Best Management Practices and Integrated Pest Management procedures to nurture a healthy environment.
For landscape design services, contact Jenni Lassen at 941.488.8897, ext. 312, to schedule a meeting with one of our award-winning landscape designers. ArtisTree proudly serves Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.