The papaya mealybug reaches Malaysia

Distribution of the papaya mealybug (screenshot
from the interactive distribution map at
www.plantwise.org) © CABI

Native to Mexico, the papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus) is controlled in its home range by endemic natural enemies, like the parasitoid Acerophagus papayae. When the papaya mealybug invaded a number of countries in the neotropical region, including the Caribbean, US and parts of South America, encyrtid parasitoids (in particular A. papayae) were introduced to control these pest outbreaks. While these earlier invasions have been managed using biological control methods, the papaya mealybug has still spread to the oriental region, critically damaging papaya crops. In an attempt to restrain the effects of the papaya mealybug studies have been conducted across the region, leading to a recent report that the pest has now spread to Malaysia.

Continue reading

The life and travels of Tuta absoluta, the tomato leaf miner

The pesky tomato pest, Tuta absoluta, has decided in recent years that it wants to see a little more of the world. This moth is native to Peru and is probably widespread in all countries in South America, but in the last 5 years the pest has also been found in the Mediterranean, spreading at a rapid pace. T. absoluta seems to have found the Mediterranean a perfect new home where it can breed 10-12 generations per year and each female can lay 250-300 eggs in its lifetime. The pest is crossing boarders and devastating tomato production in both protected and open fields. Just in 2010 the Reporting Service from the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) reported first records in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Israel, Hungary, Kosovo, Guernsey and Turkey and in 2011 in Greece, Lithuania and Iraq. The Tuta absoluta information network also reports the pest in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan and most recently in glasshouses in Russia, although these reports have not been confirmed officially by NPPOs.
Continue reading