WSU Extension


Caption: Apple mealybugs and nests on twigs
Photo by: E.H. Beers
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Filbert : Apple mealybug
(revision date: 2/14/2019)

Apple mealybugs are gray, flat, scale-like insects found on trees during winter and spring. They are typically found in cottony clusters on twigs and the underside of leaves, often on new growth. Mealybugs feed by sucking sap from the plant. Feeding may cause distortion of new growth. Mealybugs also produce honeydew, a sweet, sticky material which may attract ants or become covered with a growth of dark sooty mold. Apple mealybugs overwinter on twigs and branches of the host plants. They feed on many fruit trees and ornamentals.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Hand-wipe to control localized infestations, when practical.
  • Prune and destroy heavily infested twigs.
  • Beneficial insects including a parasitic wasp help control mealybug populations. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill predators.
  • Control honeydew-feeding ants, which may protect mealybug colonies from predators.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Homeowners should not make foliar applications to trees over 10 ft tall. Consult a commercial pesticide applicator for treatment of trees and shrubs over 10 ft. tall.

Listed below are examples of pesticides that are legal in Washington. Always read and follow all label directions.
  • Bug Buster-O [Organic]
    Active ingredient: pyrethrins  |  EPA reg no: 1021-1771-54705
  • This list may not include all products registered for this use.
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Caption: Apple mealybugs and nests on twigs
Photo by: E.H. Beers