Identifying Vine Mealybug, A Growing Problem

Taylor Hillman Pest Update, Tree, nut & vine crops, Wine

Identifying Vine Mealybug

Free vine mealybug poster. Courtesy: UCCE

Vine mealybug continues to be spotted in vineyards along the coast. Identifying this emerging pest early can save a producer in the long run.

San Luis Obispo Viticulture Farm Advisor Mark Battany blogged about identifying vine mealybug in vineyards. The bug is an emerging problem for grape growers and he says it continues to spread along the coast, spotted in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Vine mealybugs populate in large numbers and can be easily spread by wind, birds and vineyard equipment. Battany says if infestations are not managed properly, they can directly reduce fruit quality with their feeding habits, and indirectly by spreading leaf roll virus. Growers may not see that financial impact until several years down the road.

Battany says the key is identifying infestations early and taking care of the problem then. These bugs can have several generations in a season and populate all over a vine. Cooperative Extension is offering free posters to help identification of this pest. If you are interested in the posters, you can email Battany at Read more from Battany’s blog post.

Vine Mealybug Managment
From the UC IPM Website: Vine mealybug occurs in all major California production areas. In California, the vine mealybug feeds predominantly on grapevines, although in other countries it can be a pest of fig, date palm, apple, avocado, citrus, and a few ornamentals.

Because several different species of mealybugs may infest grapevines, it is important to know which species of mealybug is present because management programs for the various mealybugs differ. If you find mealybugs in your vineyard, collect the largest mealybugs you can find and place them in a jar of alcohol or sealed plastic bag. Take the sample to either your University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) farm advisor or county Agricultural Commissioner. Read more from UC IPM.