The papaya mealybug Paracoccus marginatus Williams and Granara de Willink (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) is native to Mexico and/or Central America (Miller et al. 1999) and was first described in 1992. This species was recorded for the first time in Tamil Nadu, during July, 2008 in Coimbatore district ( which is considered to be invasive) on papaya and also on many ornamental plants in the household and up to December,2008 it was restricted to Coimbatore district and subsequently spread to neighbouring districts. Survey was conducted immediately throughout the state of Tamil Nadu to study the extent of damage and spread of the invasive mealybug, P. marginatus. Severe infestation (80 to 90 %) was observed on the crops viz., papaya, mulberry, tapioca, brinjal, tomato, bhendi and flower crops.
|Reasons faster spread of Mealybug
A white wax and flour-like substance around the body of the pest is the reason for not able to control this pest easily. This pest spread rapidly due to lack of natural enemies of these pests and it is a foreign originated insect. Also, Reproduction of this mealybug is 15 times a year. It is also more capable of laying. An insect lays between 500 and 600 eggs a year. The population is growing at a higher level, thus causing great damage.
Symptoms of Mealybug infestation
- White mealybugs present as a patch like appearance in the base of the leaf stem, branches and stem.
- Presence of red and black ants movement.
- Adhesive glossy honey- waste like growth and dark fungal growth found on it and at high intensities, plants showed like burnt withered leaves.
- Integrated Pest Management system to be followed for controlling this pest.
- Keep the fields clean from weed free.
- Uproot and destroy infested plants and weeds to control spread of insects than pests.