mealy·​bug | \ ˈmē-lē-ˌbəg How to pronounce mealybug (audio) \

Definition of mealybug

: any of a family (Pseudococcidae) of scale insects that have a white cottony or waxy covering and are destructive pests especially of fruit trees

Examples of mealybug in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Examine houseplants and tropicals before bringing them indoors and discard any that are full of whitefly, scale, mealybugs or other tenacious pests. Washington Post, "How the National Arboretum got its ferns and became a civic treasure," 29 Oct. 2019 The result is that the mealybug cell contains a bacterium that contains another bacterium – an arrangement discovered back in 2001 by Carol von Dohlen, a biologist at Utah State University. Quanta Magazine, "Cell-Bacteria Mergers Offer Clues to How Organelles Evolved," 3 Oct. 2019 Yet that often has little effect in containing the disease, which is spread by tiny white insects called mealybugs. Olivia Konotey-ahulu / Bloomberg, Time, "Cocoa Trees in West Africa Are Being Ravaged By a Disease With No Known Cure," 6 Sep. 2019 With just 121 protein-coding genes, the diminutive Tremblaya princeps, a symbiotic bacterium that lives inside specialized cells of the sap-eating mealybug, has the smallest known genome of any cellular organism on the planet. Quanta Magazine, "Tiny Genomes May Offer Clues to First Plants and Animals," 20 June 2013 The mealybug genome appears to include genes from other varieties of bacteria distinct from Tremblaya and Moranella, and the two endosymbiont bacteria may use the protein products of these genes to manufacture nutrients and to make their membranes. Quanta Magazine, "Tiny Genomes May Offer Clues to First Plants and Animals," 20 June 2013 In the 1980s, wasps were responsible for rescuing $2 billion of agricultural profits in Africa from a scourge of cassava mealybugs. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in Ant-Man and the Wasp," 22 Mar. 2018 Check for mealybugs, billbugs and nematodes in zoysia lawns and treat as needed. 23. Tom Maccubbin,, "July in the garden," 30 June 2018 Lady Beetles Adult lady beetles eat aphids, mites, and mealybugs, and their hungry larvae do even more damage to garden pests. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "10 Insects You Should Actually Want Around Your Plants," 11 May 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mealybug.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mealybug

1824, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of mealybug was in 1824

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Last Updated

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Mealybug.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 15 December 2019.

More from Merriam-Webster on mealybug

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mealybug Encyclopedia article about mealybug

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