- Worldwide distribution. On fruit trees, vegetables, root crops, ornamentals, weeds. An important papaya mealybug.
- Damage: (i) thick layers of mealybugs and white wax on fruit and leaves causing yellowing, stunting, fruit drop; (ii) sooty moulds grow on honeydew, covering leaves, and staining fruit.
- Eggs laid into egg sac underneath female; produce 'crawlers' (nymphs); these moult developing into females, up to 2.2 mm long, with yellow bodies, covered in white wax, fringed with waxy threads. Males, short-lived, fly-like insects with wings.
- Spread by crawlers walking, or carried by wind, vehicles, animals, birds, on clothes, and the trade in plants.
- Natural enemies: ladybird beetles, wasp parasitoids (e.g., Acerophagus papayae).
- Cultural control: for ants: boiling water; prune low branches and remove weeds (to stop ants).
- Chemical control: use soap, horticultural or white oils (see Fact Sheet no. 56); avoid malathion and synthetic pyrethroids - they will kill natural enemies. Only use pyrethroids to kill ants.
Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides
Papaya mealybug (328)
AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from Walker A et al. (2018) Papaya mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus Williams and Granara de Willink (Insecta: Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). EDIS, University of Florida IFAS Extension. (https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in579); and CABI (2017) Paracoccus marginatus (papaya mealybug) Crop Protection Compendium. (https://www.cabi.org/cpc/datasheet/39201); and from Paracoccus marginatus. Wikipedia. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracoccus_marginatus). Photo 1 Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org. Photo 2 Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org. Photos 3&4 Dale E. Meyerdirk, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org. Photo 5 Alessandra Rung, California Department of Food & Agriculture, Bugwood.org.
Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.