Found in warmer growing climates, mealybugs are soft-bodied, wingless insects that often appear as white cottony masses on the leaf.
They feed by inserting long sucking mouthparts, called stylets, into the leaf drawing out sap out of the tissue. Damage is not often much. However, at higher numbers they can cause leaf yellowing and curling as the plant weakens.
Mealybug sizes range from approximately 2 mm to 6 mm in length. Adult females deposit 300 to 600 eggs within an excreted, compact, waxy, cottony-appearing mass mostly found on the underside of leaves (these egg cases can be confused with mould). Egg laying lasts for about two weeks, with the female dying shortly after all eggs are laid.
Hatching occurs within one to three weeks and the small, active yellow nymphs begin migrating over the plant in search of feeding sites. As they feed, they secrete a waxy coating over their bodies.