Q:How do I know if biological controls are feeding on my melaleuca trees?

A: The melaleuca psyllid pierces leaves with its straw-like mouthparts and sucks up plant sap, leaving no noticeable feeding scars. But the waxy, white, cotton-like flocculence produced by immature psyllids (or nymphs) as they feed provides an obvious sign of their presence. Look for it on expanding leaves at branch tips and on either side of more mature leaves. Besides having the tell-tale white flocculence, leaves that are fed on by psyllids often become discolored, turning yellow then red before falling off.

The weevil, on the other hand, is a leaf chewer and produces obvious feeding scars. The majority of weevil damage is caused by larvae. They feed on tender new leaves, chewing through the surface to the cuticle layer on the opposite side. This creates paper-thin feeding trails on the leaves. Damaged leaves curl up and turn brown. Adult weevils will chew holes or gouges in leaves, buds, and tender stems.