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Subject: Pink hibiscus mealybug (PHM) in Florida (US)
Date posted: June 20, 2002

FL DOACS Press Release http://www.doacs.state.fl.us/pi/enpp/ento/phm.html

In June 2002, pink hibiscus mealybugs (PHM, Maconellicoccus hirsutus) were reported infesting hibiscus plants at several locations in two Florida counties (Broward and Miami-Dade). Ongoing surveys show evidence of PHM within a 20 mile radius of the original find. The mealybug, which is distributed throughout the Caribbean basin, has been anticipated in Florida for some time. A well developed USDA biocontrol program is established in the Caribbean using Anagyrus kamali and Gyranusoidea indica, wasp-like insects that are host specific to M. hirsutus. More details on proposed biocontrol plans in FL can be found in the press release referenced above.

PHM occurs in most tropical areas of the world and attacks more than 200 plant species, including many found in Florida, such as hibiscus and other ornamental plants, citrus, guava, mango, avocado, tomato, cucumbers, peppers and many others.