Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Workshop

Late-Breaking Emergency Training

June 23-24, 2005 l University of Florida

Entomology & Nematology Department l Gainesville, FL

l Background l Workshop Topics l Hotel Accommodations
l Who Should Attend l Workshop Speakers l Travel & Local Information
l Selection Process l Draft Agenda l Acknowledgements
l Ten Benefits of Attending l Cancellation Policy l Contact Information



The pink hibiscus mealybug (PHM), Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green), is an exotic pest species that invaded Hawaii in 1983, California in 1999 and Florida in 2002. Worldwide, PHM has been recorded from over 300 host plant species, including citrus, ornamentals, and vegetables. Despite federal (USDA-APHIS) and state (FDACS-DPI) efforts to regulate and control the spread of PHM to other susceptible states, a nursery in Homestead, FL, shipped 900,000 hibiscus plants from potentially infested stock to 36 states in the U.S. from January through July 2004. According to USDA-APHIS personnel, 11 of the states that received plant shipments are climatically suitable for establishment of the mealybug. Plants were shipped to numerous national home improvement and supermarket chains. The presence of PHM was confirmed from plant material in Kansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Distribution of PHM may have occurred in other states, but were sold and incorporated into landscapes prior to testing for PHM. 

PHM is believed to be climatically suitable for establishment in the following southern continental U.S. states:  California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Utah. Given the broad host range of PHM, its climatic suitability for potential establishment, and its potential for persistence in more temperate climatic regions on nursery stock in glasshouses, etc., it has been estimated that this pest species could potentially cause economic losses of $750 million per year in the U.S. alone (APHIS-PPQ 2004). In California and Florida, control methods have primarily consisted of releasing the parasitic wasps, Anagyrus kamali Moursi and Gyranusoidea indica Shafee, Alam & Agarwal (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), in order to maintain PHM populations below economically damaging levels. Parasitoids also have successfully controlled the mealybug in Hawaii, Grenada, other Caribbean countries, the Bahamas, Belize, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.  

However, chemical control will likely continue to be emphasized in nursery stock settings that have zero tolerance standards for various pest species. If PHM is able to gain a foothold in a number of climatically suitable states in the U.S. it is anticipated that potentially severe economic damage could follow unless an early detection and rapid response system is established. Early detection techniques supported by a network of professionals would allow for a rapid response to outbreaks of this pest and would likely result in prevention and/or reduction of losses.  Several individuals from the USDA-APHIS, the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), the Regional IPM Centers, and Land Grant University representatives nationwide are working together to develop a national plan for education and response to this pest.  The diagnostician level training provided by this workshop is a component of this plan.

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Who Should Attend

General entomological identifiers associated with the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), state departments of agriculture, or APHIS would benefit from this training. Additionally, land grant university specialists working with mealybugs would find this training useful.   

As this workshop is grant-funded, there is no registration fee.  Furthermore, a limited number of travel funds for selected participants ($400/participant) are available. Although this may not completely offset travel costs for those individuals receiving funding, this should provide assistance for travel needs. 

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Selection Process

Because this is a highly specialized training program and seating is limited, participants must complete a brief application, which will be reviewed by a selection committee to determine eligibility for training.

The participant application consists of your name, contact information, occupation and a brief paragraph (50 words or less) describing your reasons for wanting to attend the training. Additionally, participants must attach a current curriculum vitae (1-2 pages maximum).

There is no registration fee to participate in this workshop. Furthermore, a limited number of travel scholarships are being issued to help offset the cost of participation. ($400 value). When completing the online workshop application, you must also indicate whether or not you would like to apply for a travel scholarship. Workshop applications must be received by Thursday, May 19, 2005. A selection committee will review all applications, and participants will be notified of their decision as soon as possible after the close of applications.

At that time, all participants will be required to confirm their participation in the workshop, and travel scholarship recipients will be expected to complete a Travel Scholarship Confirmation Form and obtain their supervisor’s signature of approval.

The Application Deadline has passed

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Ten Benefits of Attending

Upon Completion of the Workshop you will:

1.      Enhance you knowledge relating to the key field characteristics of the pink hibiscus mealybug and current control strategies.

2.      Receive up-to-date information on the USDA’s pheromone trapping program.

3.      Learn and practice the techniques for slide-mounting mealybugs.

4.      Learn the key taxonomic characteristics for the identification of the pink hibiscus mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green).

5.      Enhance your ability to generally utilize keys for mealybug identification.

6.      Be able to use the National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN), Standard Operating Procedure Manual for pink hibiscus mealybug identification.

7.      A copy of the NPDN Standard Operating Procedure and other educational material will be provided to you.

8.      Be provided a microtool set for slide-mounting.

9.      Be provided a voucher slide set of representative immature and adult specimens of the pink hibiscus mealybug and other mealybugs that frequently occur on hibiscus originating from Florida.  Voucher specimens of male pink hibiscus mealybugs will also be provided.

10.  A video slide mounting tutorial and speaker presentations with audio voice overlay will be provided to participants post-conference.

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Workshop Topics

The majority of the training will focus on hands-on, slide mounting and identification of mealybugs. Additionally, useful information on the current control strategies and pheromone trapping research involving pink hibiscus mealybug advances will also be discussed. The overall workshop topics relating to the pink hibiscus mealybug will include:

·        Field Identification Characteristics

·        Current Control Strategies

·        Pheromone Trapping

·        The National Plant Diagnostic’s Role in Sample Handling

·        Slide Mounting

·        General Mealybug Identification

·        Recognizing Key Taxonomic Features of the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug

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Workshop Speakers
Dr. Amanda Hodges is an Assistant-In Extension Scientist with the Entomology & Nematology Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.  Amanda serves as the training & education and entomology coordinator for the Southern Plant Diagnostic Network (SPDN). 

Dr. Greg Hodges is a taxonomic entomologist with the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry in Gainesville, FL.  Greg’s identification responsibilities include the Coccoidea and Aleyroidea.

Dr. Lance Osborne is a Professor with the Entomology & Nematology Department at the University of Florida and is stationed at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, FL.  Lance conducts research and develops extension material relating to pests of ornamental and greenhouse plants.

Dr. Amy Roda is an entomologist working with the USDA, APHIS, Plant Protection & Quarantine, Center for Plant Health Science & Technology and is stationed at the Subtropical Horticultural Research Station in Miami, FL.

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Draft Agenda

 Thursday, June 23, 2005


Welcome, Opening Remarks -- Dr. Amanda Hodges


Field Identification and Current Control Strategies for the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug -- Dr. Lance Osborne


Updates on Pheromone Traps for Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Detection -- Dr. Amy Roda


Discussion of Control Strategies, Management Plans, and Pheromone Trapping -- Dr. Lance Osborne, Dr. Amy Roda




The National Plant Diagnostic Network’s Role in the Early Detection of Pink Hibiscus Mealybug -- Dr. Amanda Hodges


Slide Mounting Mealybugs -- Dr. Greg Hodges


Lunch (provided)


Slide Mounting Mealybugs -- Dr. Greg Hodges


Mealybug Identification Overview -- Dr. Greg Hodges




Mealybug Identification Overview -- Dr. Greg Hodges

 Friday, June 24, 2005


Key Characters for Identification of the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug
Dr. Greg Hodges




Key Characters for Identification of the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug
Dr. Greg Hodges


Lunch (provided)


Review and Practice Keying Mealybug Unknowns
Dr. Greg Hodges



NOTEThe majority of the workshop time will be spent on hands-on, slide mounting or specimen identification.  The draft agenda only represents a rough, general topic outline for this event for your information.  For more details, contact Amanda Hodges at

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Cancellation Policy

All participants that are selected for attending the workshop are required to notify Amanda Hodges no later than Wednesday, June 1, 2005 if your plans for attending the workshop have changed.  Excluding documented medical reasons or other legitimate schedule changes, individuals that are approved to attend and do not meet this notification deadline will not receive a travel scholarship, materials distributed at the workshop, or materials planned for post-conference distribution. 

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Hotel Accommodations

Participants have the option of staying at one of two host hotels for the workshop.

The Hilton UF Conference Center is within walking distance to the University of Florida and offers a shuttle service to and from the Gainesville Regional Airport.

The Cabot Lodge is not within walking distance and does not offer shuttle service. Participants who do not drive to the workshop will  need to rent a car or take a taxi if staying at the Cabot Lodge. Click here for a list of Gainesville Taxi services and rental car companies with their phone numbers.

Participants need to contact their hotel of choice and make reservations by Wednesday, June 1, 2005. After this date, availability of guest rooms cannot be guaranteed. The contact information is listed under each hotel.


Hilton UF Conference Center - The University of Florida rate is $99.00 plus 9.25% Alachua County room tax.

A block of guest rooms is being held  at the Gainesville Cabot Lodge located at 3726 SW 40th Boulevard, Gainesville, FL 32608; Phone: (352) 375-2400 • Fax: (352) 335-2321

The Cabot is offering participants of the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Workshop a very special rate of $71 per night, single or double occupancy (plus 9.25% tax —Federal and State employees will be exempt with proper documentation presented at check-in). The group rate will be honored 3 days prior and 3 days following the training program,  based on availability. All hotel reservations must be made by Wednesday, June 1, 2005. After this date, availability of guest rooms at the Cabot Lodge cannot be guaranteed. To make reservations, please contact the hotel directly at (352) 375-2400 and be sure to identify yourself as a participant of the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug Workshop.

Included in the nightly rate, the Cabot Lodge offers a generous complimentary continental breakfast and a morning paper each day and a two-hour complimentary cocktail reception each evening. The continental breakfast buffet is offered on weekdays from 6:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. and on weekends from 6:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. It includes fresh fruits, assorted breads, bagels, pastries, donuts, yogurts, juices and coffee. The complimentary cocktail reception is held nightly from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m and includes mixed drinks, beer, wine, assorted sodas and popcorn. For your convenience, there are also several local area restaurants within walking distance of the Cabot Lodge such as the Atlanta Bread Company, the Gainesville Ale House, Hops Restaurant, Imperial Gardens, Shoney's, Sonny's Bar-B-Q and the Texas Roadhouse, to name a few.

The Cabot Lodge facilities include a complete business service center and all hotel rooms have a large desk, WebTV, Ethernet ports, dual-line telephones and analog ports for modem access.

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Travel & Local Information

This workshop will be held in a teaching laboratory in Gainesville, Florida at the University of Florida, Entomology-Nematology Building, Room 3118.  The Entomology-Nematology Building is located on the University of Florida’s campus off of Natural Area Drive.  Maps will be provided, and parking passes will be available upon arrival at the workshop.

Gainesville Area and Airline Information: Air service is provided through the Gainesville Regional Airport, just north of Gainesville.  Additional airports within a 2 - 3 hour drive of the University of Florida are located in Jacksonville (85 miles), Orlando (110 miles), and Tampa (130 miles). 

Please Note: Individuals are on their own for all transportation. Click here for a list of Gainesville Taxi services and rental car companies with their phone numbers.

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Development and available funds for this workshop were made possible by the USDA-CSREES critical needs grant ‘Early Detection and Rapid Response System for the Pink Hibiscus Mealybug through Education, Training, and Implementation of Integrated Pest Management’ (pending). 

Project directors for this grant include:

  1. Jim VanKirk, Southern Region IPM Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

  2. Gail Wisler, Department of Plant Pathology/Southern Plant Diagnostic Laboratory Network, University of Florida/IFAS, Gainesville, FL

  3. Ray Hammerschmidt, Department of Plant Pathology/North Central Plant Diagnostic Laboratory Network, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI and

  4. Sue Ratcliffe, North Central IPM Center, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL. 

Project facilitators include:

  1. Robert M. Nowierski, USDA-CSREES, Washington, DC

  2. Dale Meyerdirk, USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Riverdale, MD

Scientific and educational support for this grant include:

  1. Lance Osborne, Mid-Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Apopka, FL

  2. Amanda Hodges, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

  3. Amy Roda, USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Center for Plant Health Science and Technology (CPHST), Miami, FL

  4. Cliff Sadof, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

  5. Luis Canas, Department of Entomology, Ohio State University, Wooster, OH.

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Contact Information
Training Information:
Dr. Amanda Hodges
SPDN Entomology Coordinator
University of Florida/IFAS
Entomology-Nematology Department
Natural Area Drive
PO Box 110620
Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
PHONE: (352) 392-1901 ext. 122
FAX: (352) 392-0190
Registration Information:
Sharon Borneman
UF/IFAS Office of Conferences
    and Institutes (OCI)
PO Box 110750
Gainesville, FL 32611 USA
PHONE: (352) 392-5930
FAX: (352) 392-9734

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