Pest categorisation of Maconellicoccus hirsutus
The EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae), the pink hibiscus mealybug, for the EU. M. hirsutus is native to Southern Asia and has established in many countries in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. Within the EU, the pest has been reported from Cyprus and Greece (Rhodes). M. hirsutus is not listed in Annex II of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072. It is highly polyphagous, feeding on plants assigned to 229 genera in 78 plant families, and shows some preference for hosts in the families Malvaceae, Fabaceae and Moraceae. Economically important crops in the EU such as cotton (Gossypium spp.), citrus (Citrus spp.), ornamentals (Hibiscus spp.), grapes (Vitis vinifera), soybean (Glycinae max), avocado (Persea americana) and mulberry trees (Morus alba) may be significantly affected by M. hirsutus. The lower and upper developmental temperature threshold of M. hirsutus on Hibiscus rosa-sinensis are 14.5 and 35.0°C, respectively, with optimal female development estimated to be at 29.0°C. There are about 10 generations a year in the subtropics but as many as 15 may occur under optimal conditions. Plants for planting, fruits, vegetables and cut flowers provide potential pathways for entry into the EU. Climatic conditions in EU member states around the Mediterranean Sea and host plant availability in those areas are conducive for establishment. The introduction of M. hirsutus is expected to have an economic impact in the EU through damage to various ornamental plants, as already observed in Cyprus and Greece, and reduction in yield and quality of many significant crops. Phytosanitary measures are available to reduce the likelihood of entry and further spread. Some uncertainties include the area of establishment, whether it could become a greenhouse pest, impact, and the influence of natural enemies. M. hirsutus meets the criteria that are within the remit of EFSA to assess for it to be regarded as a potential Union quarantine pest.
|Pest Risk Analysis||Link to file|
- Czech Republic