Papaya mealy bug in india

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Paracoccus marginatus on a papaya fruit

The Papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus) is a pest insect that has been introduced into India from Mexico and Central America. The introduction of this species has caused damage to papaya cultivation in South India, especially in the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.[1] This pest's hosts also include, in varying levels of severity, hibiscus, mulberry, eggplant, castor oil plant, teak, pigeon pea, tapioca, Jatropha and many other weed hosts, including Parthenium.[2][3] In Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, it also has a severe effect on sunflower growth.

The papaya mealybug requires high temperature to multiply with high fecundity. Each of its ovisacs contains on average 300–400 eggs.[citation needed] Early instars are highly active and are called crawlers. These mealybugs are found to associate with different species of ants, as a mode of dispersal.[citation needed] According to estimation by the National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects (NBAII), the loss due to this pest is 1500 crores (US$300,000,000) per year.[citation needed]

To control this pest NBAII has imported the parasitoid Acerophagus papayae from Mexico.[3] This programme has been successful.[1] Insecticides have largely failed to control this pest on a large scale. Some insecticides have been recommended, but they have not provided the same level of control in field conditions as the parasitiods.[citation needed] The parasitoids multiply faster than the mealybugs, so there is no need of inoculative release.[citation needed]

Other parasitoids of the papaya mealybug are Anagyrus loecki and Pseudleptomastix mexicana. One predator, Spalgis epius, has also been observed.[4]



  1. ^ a b "Papaya mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus". National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "Catalogue Query Results". ScaleNet. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "NBAII launches Nation wide programme for classical Biological Control of the Papaya Mealybug". Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Tanwar, R.K.; Jayakumar, P.; Venilla, S. (August 2010). "Papaya mealybug and its management strategies" (PDF). National Centre for Integrated Pest Management. pp. 15–17. Retrieved 23 October 2011.