Order: Coleoptera. Family: Coccinellidae
Average Size: 1/8 inch..
Sometimes called crypts (short for their scientific name Cryptolaemus montrouzieri) look very similar to ladybugs, but with an orange-red head area and tips of wings.
Although they will also eat the occasional aphid and scale insects, their favorite food is mealybugs. You will find crypts in areas that do not have severe winters and can also be purchased through some gardening catalogs to place in greenhouses.
Ants tend to destroy crypts because they in turn destroy mealybugs and ants protect mealybugs for the sweet, cottony substance they excrete. The crypt larvae look like giant mealybugs so be very careful which one you are destroying when you spray plants or squash the bugs.
Photos from top: 1.) Adult mealybug destroyer or crypt. 2.) The white, stringy-looking object is the larvae of the crypt or mealybug destroyer eating an aphid.
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