Dysmicoccus neobrevipes (Annona/Gray Pineapple Mealybug)

California Pest Rating for
Dysmicoccus neobrevipes (Annona/Gray Pineapple Mealybug)
Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae
Pest Rating: A

Initiating Event:

Dysmicoccus neobrevipes has an internal CDFA rating of “Q”. A permanent pest rating proposal is required to support an official pest rating.

History & Status:

Background: Dysmicoccus neobrevipes is a mealybug with pantropical distribution. It is a highly polyphagous mealybug presenting a host range of more than 40 families of plants, including among others Agave, Ananas, Annona, Brassica, Citrus, Cucurbita, Ficus, Mangifera, Musa, Solanum lycopersicum, and Yucca (4, 10). It vectors pineapple wilt and green spot disease (9) and due to this, it is considered the most economically important pest of pineapple and is the primary cause of pineapple crop failure in Hawaii (3). The Annona mealybug is ovoviviparous; the eggs hatch within the female resulting in live births of young nymphs. One female produces about 350 nymphs in 30 days. Adults are found on leaves, stems, aerial roots and fruit clusters (7).

Worldwide Distribution: Dysmicoccus neobrevipes is thought to be native to tropical America, with a few records from sub-tropical localities. It is found in 39 countries (see 10), including all pineapple growing areas of Fiji, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia, Philippines, and Taiwan (3). It is known to have been introduced in China, Japan, Sri Lanka and Lithuania (2).

U.S. Distribution: Dysmicoccus neobrevipes is present in Hawaii and Florida (1, 2, and 10).

U.S. Quarantine Interceptions: Dysmicoccus neobrevipes has been intercepted 3,600 times on a variety of hosts at U.S. ports of entry between 1995 and 2012. This species is commonly intercepted from southern Asia, particularly The Philippines, on a diversity of tropical fruits and from many areas of South America on agave and tropical fruits (4).

Official Control: Dysmicoccus neobrevipes has been listed as a harmful organism in Japan (8).

California Distribution:  Dysmicoccus neobrevipes has not been found in the natural environment in California (5).

California Interceptions:  Dysmicoccus neobrevipes has been intercepted multiple times through border station inspections, dog teams, high risk pest exclusion and through incoming quarantine shipments. Between January 2000 and August 2016, it has been intercepted 71 times (5). It has not yet been found in the natural or agricultural environment in California.

The risk Dysmicoccus neobrevipes (Annona/Gray Pineapple Mealybug) would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction: 

1) Climate/Host Interaction: Hosts like beans, citrus, cotton, cowpeas, pumpkin and tomatoes are grown throughout California and this presents the possibility of rapid spread and establishment of this pest throughout the state (2). Pineapples and Banana are grown in coastal areas of California and Dysmicoccus neobrevipes could spread and get established in these areas (6). It receives a High (3) in this category.

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

Score: 3

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: Dysmicoccus neobrevipes is highly polyphagous and is found on 40 plant families (10). It receives a High (3) in this category.

Evaluate the host range of the pest:

Score: 3

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: Dysmicoccus neobrevipes reproduces parentally. One female can give birth to 350 nymphs in 30 days. The life span averages about 90 days. Larvae, also known as crawlers, have flattened bodies and long hairs which aid in their dispersal by wind. (3). Certain species of caretaking ants aid the mealybugs in colonizing new plants by providing them shelter, protecting them from predators and keeping them clean from secreted honeydew.  It receives a High (3) in this category

Evaluate the natural and artificial dispersal potential of the pest:

Score: 3

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: Since the ants aid mealybugs to colonize new plants, there can be significant costs associated with cultural and chemical control of ant species throughout the state on its many hosts. Dysmicoccus neobrevipes is a vector of mealybug wilt and green spot disease of pineapples. The wilt disease alone can cause yield loss of up to 35% in pineapples (9). It receives a High (3) in this category.

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

Economic Impact:  A, B, E

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.

Economic Impact Score: 3

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: Dysmicoccus neobrevipes is not likely to impact threatened or endangered species. However infestations could trigger additional private treatment by growers. Chemicals used for ant control may have detrimental environmental impacts because of their slow degradation (3). Pineapple and banana growing regions of southern California coast are likely to be impacted by this pest. It receives a High (3) in this category.

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

Environmental Impact:  A, D

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 of Annona/Gray Pineapple Mealybug into California:  High (15)

Low = 5-8 points

Medium = 9-12 points

High = 13-15 points

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Dysmicoccus neobrevipes has not been found in the natural or agricultural environment of California. Therefore, it 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:

Score: 0

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: (15)


Dysmicoccus neobrevipes has been intercepted many times by CDFA through regulatory pathways. There are ample opportunities for this pest to be introduced into California through various ports of entry.  If it goes undetected, there is a good possibility that it can spread and get established based on its rapid dispersal potential and wide host range.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Dysmicoccus neobrevipes has not been found in the natural or agricultural environment in California. If this species were to become established in California, there could be significant economic and environmental impacts. Based on all the above evidence, an “A” rating is proposed at this time.

  1. Egelie, Ashley A and Gillett-Kaufman, Jennifer L., University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology Department: Publication # EENY-635, September 2015 http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/FRUIT/MEALYBUGS/pineapple_mealybug.htm
  2. Invasive Species Compendium: Distribution maps for plant pests, Accessed 10/14/2016 http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/20251
  3. Kessing JLM, Mau RFL, 2007. Dysmicoccus neobrevipes (Beardsley). Crop Knowledge Master. http://www.extento.hawaii.edu/kbase/crop/type/d_neobre.htm
  4. Miller, D., A. Rung, G. Parikh, G. Venable, A.J. Redford, G.A. Evans, and R.J. Gill. 2014. Scale Insects, Edition 2. USDA APHIS Identification Technology Program (ITP). Fort Collins, CO. [August 13 2016] <http://idtools.org/id/scales/>: Dysmicoccus brevipes (Cockerell) http://idtools.org/id/scales/factsheet.php?name=6966
  5. Pest and Damage Report Database: Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services, California Department of Food and Agriculture: Accessed 9/30/2016
  6. Pineapple fruit facts: California rare fruit Growers https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/pineapple.html
  7. Plant Health Australia: Exotic Threat: Pineapple Mealybug- Fact Sheet http://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Grey-pineapple-mealy-bug-FS.pdf
  8. USDA Phytosanitary Certificate Issuance & Tracking System (PCIT): Phytosanitary Export Database (PExD), Accessed 10/13/2016  https://pcit.aphis.usda.gov/PExD/faces/ReportFormat.jsp
  9. Sether DM, Hu JS, 2002. Yield impact and spread of Pineapple mealybug wilt associated virus-2 and mealybug wilt of pineapple in Hawaii. Plant Disease, 86(8):867-874.
  10. ScaleNet: http://scalenet.info/catalogue/Dysmicoccus%20neobrevipes/ Accessed 10/13/2016

Responsible Party:

Raj Randhawa, 1220 ‘N’ Street, Room 221, Sacramento CA 95814, (916)403-6617, plant.health[@]cdfa.ca.gov

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Pest Rating: A

Posted by ls