Scale insects and mealybugs are ubiquitous in managed landscapes. Although they are most commonly managed in the landscape on ornamental plants, this group of insects can also be damaging pests of warm season turfgrasses. To date, little research has investigated management strategies for these pests in turfgrasses, and few products are labeled or tested for their control. This document is intended to provide an overview of the identification, biology, ecology, and management of the most common scale insect and mealybug pests found in warm season turfgrasses in the southern United States.
At least four species of leaf-feeding scale insects and mealybugs are pests of turfgrasses in the southeastern United States and Florida: Rhodesgrass mealybug (Antonina graminis (Maskell): Pseudococcidae), Tuttle mealybug (Brevennia rehi (Lindinger): Pseudococcidae), bermudagrass scale (Odonaspis ruthae (Kotinsky): Diaspididae), and Duplachionaspis divergens (Green) (Diaspididae). A fifth group of turfgrass scale insect pests, ground pearls (Dimargarodes meridionalis (Morrison): Margarodidae), live in the soil and feed on turfgrass roots. Most of these insects are occasional pests, but all can be difficult to control and may cause extensive damage if left unmanaged.