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Mealybug

Mealybug

Drosicha mangiferae

insect

In a Nutshell

    Shriveled leaves due to sap sucking activity of mealybug nymphs and femalesExcreted honeydew favors the growth of sooty moldPhotosynthetic inhibition by the fungal mass leads to defoliationSevere infestation affects the fruit set and causes fruits to drop

Hosts: %1$s

· Mango

Symptoms

Mealybug nymphs and female bugs suck sap from inflorescence, tender leaves, shoots and fruit stems. As a result, the affected inflorescences and leaves wither and dry out. Migrating females can be found in the tree stems and around the trees on the ground where they lay eggs. Severe infestation affects the fruit set and causes fruit drop. Mealybugs secrete honeydew which provides a perfect substrate for the development of sooty mold. Photosynthetic activity can be critically affected by sooty mold colonies, resulting in poor productivity, defoliation and fruit loss.

Trigger

The symptoms are caused by Drosicha mangiferae, a mealybug that is specialized on mango trees. At the end of their life cycle of 78 - 135 days, females climb down the trees to lay eggs or hibernate as pupae. Purple-colored eggs are deposited in sacs dug into the roots or into loose soil in a range of 2–3 m around the trees. The eggs remain 6 months in the earth around trees. After hatching, nymphs start ascending the trees to the succulent parts and the fruiting components, where they start sucking sap. Males are winged and short-lived after mating, and hence do not cause any damage to the trees. Mealybugs are spread by wind, rain, birds and even ants, who benefit of the mealybug's excrements.

Biological Control

Use sticky bands sprayed with neem seed extract or garlic oil to deter the bugs. Foliar sprays based on Verticillium lecanii or Beauveria bassiana has proven effective during months with high humidity. Orchards can also be flooded during egg hibernation to decimate the bugs.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments if available. Sprays containing methomyl, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, buprofezin, deltamethrin and supracide have proven extremely effective in treating mealybugs. It is recommended to spray the entire tree only after severe infestation. Otherwise spray merely the lower stem where mealybugs climb up and down.

Preventive Measures

    Regularly monitor the orchard for infestationAttach sticky bands directly onto the stems just above the ground to trap mealybugsPlow the ground around the trees regularly to expose eggs as well as hibernating females to the sunAvoid damage to the mango tree roots and stemsUse plastic sheets covered with leaf mulch around the tree trunk to lure and collect egg-carrying femalesMonitor the mulch and burn or spray heavily infested ones