Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi Gimpel and Miller: Jack Beardsley mealybug

California Pest Rating for
Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi Gimpel and Miller:  Jack Beardsley mealybug
Hemiptera:  Pseudococcidae
Pest Rating:  A

Initiating Event:

Since 1999 Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi has been regularly intercepted by CDFA’s border stations and dog teams.  This mealybug presently has a temporary rating of “Q”.  A pest rating proposal is needed to establish a permanent pest rating.

History & Status:

BackgroundPseudococcus jackbeardsleyi is a highly polyphagous mealybug that feeds on a wide variety of plants.  Known hosts include:  Anacardiaceae: mango (Mangifera indica1), hog plum (Spondias sp.1); Annonaceae: custard apple (Annona sp.1), sugar-apple (Annona squamosa1,2), soursop (Annona muricata1), cherimoya (Annona cherimola1); Apiaceae: celery (Apium graveolens1); Apocynaceae: Fernaldia sp.1, wax plant (Hoya carnosa1), oleander (Nerium oleander1), Plumeria sp.1; Araceae: Malayan sword (Aglaonema simplex1), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema sp.1), poison dart plant (Aglaonema commutatum1), Anthurium sp.1, Dieffenbachia sp.; Araliaceae: spikenard (Aralia sp.); Arecaceae: coconut (Cocos sp.1); Asparagaceae: Agave sp.1, ti (Cordyline terminalis2), Dracaena sp.1, Yucca sp.1; Asteraceae: Spanish needles (Bidens bipinnata1), jack in the bush (Chromolaena odorata (=Eupatorium odoratum1)), Chrysanthemum sp.2; Basellaceae: Indian spinach (Basella alba2); Begoniaceae: Begonia sp.1; Boraginaceae: black sage (Cordia curassavica1); Bromeliaceae: pineapple (Ananas comosus1); Cactaceae: Acanthocereus sp.1; Peruvian apple cactus (Cereus peruvianus1), Cereus sp.1, Coryphanta cubensis1, melon cactus (Melocactus sp.1), Rhipsalis mesembrianthemoides1; Caricaceae: papaya (Carica papaya1,2); Convolvulaceae: morning glory (Ipomoea sp.1), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas1); Cucurbitaceae: ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis1), cantaloupe (Cucumis melo1), Cucurbita sp.1, pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo1), chayote (Sechium edule1), Trichosanthes cumumesina; Dilleniaceae: Acrotrema cestatum1; Euphorbiaceae: Acalypha wilkesiana1, Aporusa aurita1, Chamaesyce sp.1, Codiaeum sp.1, Croton sp.1, sandbox tree (Hura crepitans1), Jatropha sp.1, Jatropha curcas1, cassava (Manihot esculenta1,2); Fabaceae: thorntree (Acacia sp.1), shyleaf (Aeschynomene americana1), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan1), Cajanus indicus1, logwood (Haematoxylum campechianum1), Mucuna sp.1, lima bean (Phaseolus limensis1), Pueraria javanica1, tamarind (Tamarindus indica1), Tamarindus sp.; Geraniaceae: geranium (Pelargonium sp.1); Gesneriaceae: purple martin (Streptocarpus sp.2); Heliconiaceae: Heliconia sp.1; Iridaceae: Iris sp.1; Lamiaceae: Coleus sp.1, mint (Mentha sp.1), basil (Ocimum sp.1), sage (Salvia sp.1); Lauraceae: avocado (Persea sp.1); Lythraceae: pomegranate (Punica granatum1); Malvaceae: cotton (Gossypium sp.1), Gossypium barbadense1, okra (Hibiscus exculentus1), kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus1), Hibiscus sp.1,; cacao (Theobroma cacao1); Moraceae: Ficus decora1, Ficus sp.1, Ficus tricolor1, mulberry (Morus sp.1); Moringaceae: Moringa oleifera1; Musaceae: latundan banana (Musa sapientum1), banana (Musa sp.1), Musa paradasiaca1; Myrtaceae: Eucalyptus sp.1, Eugenia sp.1, common guava (Psidium guajava1), guava (Psidium sp.1); Nephrolepidaceae: Nephrolepis sp.1; Nyctaginaceae: Bougainvillea sp.1; Oleaceae: star jasmine (Jasminum multiflorum2); Orchidaceae: Cattleya sp.1, Cycnoches sp.1, twisted dendrobium (Dendrobium tortile1), Dendrobium sp.1, Mormolyca balsamina1, venus slipper (Paphiopedilum sp.1); Piperaceae: black pepper (Piper nigrum1); Poaceae: lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus1), corn (Zea mays1); Polygonaceae: Rumex sp.1; Proteaceae: Macadamia sp.1; Rubiaceae: coffee (Coffea arabica1), Gardenia jasminoides1; Rutaceae: Citrus sp.1, key lime (Citrus aurantiifolia1), grapefruit (Citrus paradisi1); Sapindaceae: ackee (Blighia sapida1), lychee (Litchi chinensis1), Nephelium sp.1, rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum1); Sapotaceae: star apple (Chrysophyllum cainito1); Solanaceae: Capsicum sp.1, chili pepper (Capsicum fructescens1), bell pepper (Capsicum annuum1), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum1), cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana1), husk tomato (Physalis pubescens1), Solanum sp.1, eggplant (Solanum melongena1), potato (Solanum tuberosum1); Sterculiaceae: teabush (Melochia tomentosa1); Verbenaceae: Lantana sp.1, wild sage (Lantana camara1); Vitaceae: grapevine (Vitis sp.1); Zingiberaceae: red ginger (Alpinia purpurata1), ginger-lilies (Alpinia sp.1), Phaeomeria sp.1, ginger (Zingiber officinale1).  It is most common on banana, tomato, potato, pepper, and Hibiscus1.  The mealybug may spread long distances through commerce in infested plants and plant material.

Worldwide Distribution: Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi is presumably native to and widespread in the Neotropical region from Mexico south to Brazil1.  It has spread to many Pacific islands including Hawaii, and to southeast Asia1.  In the continental United States it has been found in Florida and Texas1.  It has even been found in Canada1.

Official Control: Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi is considered a quarantine pest by Chile, India, Japan, and Peru3.

California Distribution:  Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi has never been found in the environment of California.

California Interceptions Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi has been intercepted by CDFA 321 times since 1997, most commonly on basil leaves, nursery stock, and cut flowers.  The mealybug has not been found in any nurseries.

The risk Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi (Jack Beardsley mealybug) would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction: 

1) Climate/Host Interaction: Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi feeds on a large variety of plants, many of which are grown in California. It is likely to establish wherever host plants are grown and receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate if the pest would have suitable hosts and climate to establish in California.  Score:

Low (1) Not likely to establish in California; or likely to establish in very limited areas.

Medium (2) may be able to establish in a larger but limited part of California.

High (3) likely to establish a widespread distribution in California.

2) Known Pest Host Range: Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi is highly polyphagous on a wide variety of plants in at least 49 plant families.  It receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the host range of the pest. Score:

Low (1) has a very limited host range.

Medium (2) has a moderate host range.

High (3) has a wide host range.

3) Pest Dispersal Potential: Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi has high reproductive potential.  Each female lays 300-600 eggs4 and they can complete many generations per year.  Mealybug crawlers may be dispersed locally by crawling, wind, or by hitchhiking on clothing, animals, or equipment.  They may also be moved long distances on infested plants or plant material.  Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the natural and artificial dispersal potential of the pest. Score:

Low (1) does not have high reproductive or dispersal potential.

Medium (2) has either high reproductive or dispersal potential.

High (3) has both high reproduction and dispersal potential.

4) Economic Impact: Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi is injurious to plants in the absence of efficient natural enemies and has the potential to lower yields of many high-value California crops such as grapes, citrus, and tomatoes.  This mealybug may also lower the value of a wide variety of nursery stock by disfiguring plants with its presence and by the production of sooty mold.  It may also increase crop production costs as some growers may apply new treatments.  The mealybug is also considered a quarantine pest by several of California’s trading partners and could potentially disrupt markets for fresh fruit and nursery stock.  Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the economic impact of the pest to California using the criteria below. Score:

A. The pest could lower crop yield.

B. The pest could lower crop value (includes increasing crop production costs).

C. The pest could trigger the loss of markets (includes quarantines).

D. The pest could negatively change normal cultural practices.

E. The pest can vector, or is vectored, by another pestiferous organism.

F. The organism is injurious or poisonous to agriculturally important animals.

G. The organism can interfere with the delivery or supply of water for agricultural uses.

Low (1) causes 0 or 1 of these impacts.

Medium (2) causes 2 of these impacts.

High (3) causes 3 or more of these impacts.

5) Environmental Impact: Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi is not expected to lower biodiversity, disrupt natural communities, or change ecosystem processes.  Hoover’s spurge (Chamaesyce hooveri) and Wiggin’s croton (Croton wigginsii) are listed as endangered plants in California and are likely to be consumed by this mealybug.  The mealybug is not expected to disrupt critical habitats.  It could trigger new chemical treatments in agricultural industries and by residents who find infested plants unsightly.  Many of the mealybug’s hosts are popular ornamental plants and are likely to be significantly impacted, especially when grown as indoor houseplants with limited access to predatory insects.  Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the environmental impact of the pest on California using the criteria below.

A. The pest could have a significant environmental impact such as lowering biodiversity, disrupting natural communities, or changing ecosystem processes.

B. The pest could directly affect threatened or endangered species.

C. The pest could impact threatened or endangered species by disrupting critical habitats.

D. The pest could trigger additional official or private treatment programs.

E. The pest significantly impacts cultural practices, home/urban gardening or ornamental plantings.

Score the pest for Environmental Impact. Score:

Low (1) causes none of the above to occur.

Medium (2) causes one of the above to occur.

High (3) causes two or more of the above to occur.

Consequences of Introduction to California for Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi (Jack Beardsley mealybug):  High (15)

Add up the total score and include it here.

Low = 5-8 points

Medium = 9-12 points

High = 13-15 points

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi has never been detected in California. CDFA has conducted several recent delimitations for exotic mealybugs that would have been likely to detect this mealybug due to its large host range and the high-risk locations of the survey.  It was not found in any of these surveys.  Furthermore, it has not been found in any nurseries.  Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi should be considered absent from California and receives a Not established(0) in this category.

Evaluate the known distribution in California. Only official records identified by a taxonomic expert and supported by voucher specimens deposited in natural history collections should be considered. Pest incursions that have been eradicated, are under eradication, or have been delimited with no further detections should not be included.

Not established (0) Pest never detected in California, or known only from incursions.

Low (-1) Pest has a localized distribution in California, or is established in one suitable climate/host area (region).

Medium (-2) Pest is widespread in California but not fully established in the endangered area, or pest established in two contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

High (-3) Pest has fully established in the endangered area, or pest is reported in more than two contiguous or non-contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

Final Score

The final score is the consequences of introduction score minus the post entry distribution and survey information score: High(15)


It is possible that existing treatments for mealybugs will limit the impact of Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi in managed environments.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi has never been found in the environment of California and its entry to the state has the potential to have significant economic and environmental impacts.  An “A” rating is justified.


1Miller, Dug, Yair Ben-Dov, Gary Gibson, and Nate Hardy.  ScaleNet.

2Shylesha, A.N. 2013.  Host range of invasive Jack Beardsley mealybug, Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi Gimpel and Miller in Karnataka.  Pest Management in Horticultural Ecosystems 19(1):106-107

3USDA Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance & Tracking System (PCIT) Phytosanitary Export Database (PExD).

4Mau, Ronald F.L. and Jayma L. Martin Kessig.  Pseudococcus jackbeardsleyi Gimpel and Miller.  Crop Knowledge Master.  Department of Entomology.  Honolulu, Hawaii.

Responsible Party:

Jason Leathers, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA, 95814, (916) 654-1211,[@]

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Pest Rating:  A

Posted by ls