EPPO Platform
on PRAs

Rapid Pest Risk Analysis for Phenacoccus solenopsis (Cotton mealybug) and the closely related P. defectus and P. solani


This rapid assessment shows: 

Risk of entry – unlikely to moderately likely (on growing plants from within and outside Europe), though with high uncertainty. Very unlikely on fresh produce. Phenacoccus defectus, P. solani and P. solenopsis are all present in Europe and the free movement of their host plants within Europe will allow them to be dispersed in trade, however, P. defectus/solani has only been detected twice on imported plants and P. solenopsis has never been detected on imported plants. 

Risk of establishment – very likely on indoor plantings, very unlikely outdoors. All three nominal species are very likely to be able to establish on indoor plantings, wherever suitable hosts are grown. Phenacoccus defectus and P. solani are more cold-adapted than P. solenopsis

Rate of spread – very slow (natural) to moderate (in trade). 

Economic impact – very small (P. defectus) to moderate (P. solani and P. solenopsis) impact to vegetable crops and grapevine. Both P. solenopsis and P. solani are pests of a wide range of vegetable crops and ornamental plants. P. defectus/solani was cultured on tomato at Fera and the population developed rapidly, eventually killing the plants. Phenacoccus solani and P. solenopsis could have a small to medium impact to glasshouse vegetable crops, and possibly grapevine. 

Endangered area – indoor plantings. 

Risk management – may be controlled by using the same products currently used for other glasshouse mealybugs. In the absence of phytosanitary measures Phenacoccus defectus, P. solani and P. solenopsis may enter the UK, currently likely to be a rare event, but it may depend on if the pests spread within the EU. All three mealybugs may be controlled using the same products used for other mealybugs already present in the UK.


  • Phenacoccus defectus
  • Phenacoccus solani
  • Phenacoccus solenopsis


  • Carica papaya
  • Gossypium hirsutum
  • Nicotiana plumbaginifolia
  • Ocimum basilicum
  • Parthenium hysterophorus
  • Simmondsia chinensis
  • Solanum muricatum


Type File Size
Pest Risk Analysis Download 324,63kB

PRA Area

  • United Kingdom