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Unknown spotting


growing on the twig from a tree in my garden in Tamil Nadu, South India


Summer has arrived in South India, and with the heat comes an enormous variety of poochies (aphids, mealy bugs etc) This morning I found these ones on a fallen twig. I haven't seen them before and have no idea what they are. Looks like the ones that killed my papayas last year, though!

No species ID suggestions


Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

The ladybird that stops it has been introduced (successfully) to India before in 1926 and 1930...
so it should be available somewhere there.

You might have a local creature that can help.

pamsai 6 years ago

thanks Satyam for putting me in touch with Yogesh...
Yogesh, I live in Tamil Nadu, in a large densely planted compound in a village that is riddled with pests (I have 3 or 4 types of mealy-bugs, brown, black & green aphids, hibiscus scale and white fly, to mention a few!). It is more difficult to contain them ouside than in a green house. I tried for years with organic compounds and pruning, which kept them under control, but only just, and was VERY time consuming, spraying the whole garden, weekly. I'll check out the ones you mentioned, though I'm not sure they will be available locally in India.
We have been using pythrethrum which has been containing them, but since it got hotter, they are multiplying at such a rate, I can no longer keep up. The hibiscus usually survive anyway, but 2 years ago this bug killed all my papaya trees. It just covered them in "cotton wool" and sucked all the juice out of them!
These, taken a month ago, were just beginning. Now they have their waxy layer on top and the spray just runs off. I add a little detergent,to help it stick...

In the last 2 weeks it is multiplying fast on the fruit where it is difficult to reach.
Last year we used chemicals, which seemed to work, but which I hate to use.
I was wondering about Verticillium lecanii, but it might be too late this year. Is it safe to use that?

The thing I am most worried about at the moment are my papaya trees which are full of fruit, and the bugs get themselves in between the fruit where they can't be reached.
Before the hot season started they looked like this...
Now they are becoming covered with "cotton wool" bugs, and are a horrible site..

I am really at my wits end, not knowing what to do...

Wild Things
Wild Things 6 years ago

Lovely information. Thanks Yogesh.

YogeshSave 6 years ago

pamsai, this is a kind of mealy bug,its a kind of sucking pest.Verticillium lecanii can be usefull for early stage.but for the best result use chemical/organic pestiticide.
Non chemical control
Female mealybugs do not fly or crawl far, so infestations are usually brought in on an infested plant. Inspect new plants carefully before putting them in a greenhouse or conservatory and, where possible, keep them in quarantine for a month or so before adding new acquisitions to an existing collection.
Dead leaves and prunings should be removed from the greenhouse as these may have mealybugs or eggs on them.
Biological control
A ladybird, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, can be released into greenhouses to control mealybugs. Note that the ladybird's larvae look like large mealybugs! Both the adult ladybirds and their larvae are able to find and eat mealybugs and their eggs in confined spaces on the plants. Parasitic wasps (Leptomastix spp.) are also available for use against this pest.

The ladybird and parasitic wasps need relatively high temperatures and so are only likely to be successful during May to September. They are susceptible to most insecticides and should therefore be used as an alternative, rather than in addition to chemical control.
Other organic treatments for use during the growing season include fatty acids (Bayer Organic Pest Control, Greenfingers Organic Pest Spray or Doff Greenfly and Blackfly Killer) or plant oils or extracts (Growing Success Fruit & Veg Bug Killer, Vitax Organic 2-in-1 Pest and Disease Control, Scotts Bug Clear for Fruit & Veg). These organic pesticides have a contact action and short persistence and so may require more frequent use. They can be used on edible plants
If you want chemical pesticide I can suggest you some chemical pesticides.

Wild Things
Wild Things 6 years ago

Not sure if ladybugs can survive here, not sure of Verticillium lecanii. Will ask Yogesh Save when he is online. He is an expert of plants and related bugs, at least in our area.

pamsai 6 years ago

What do people think of biocontrol? Is it safe?
wiki says "Mealybugs can be controlled using the biocontrol agent Verticillium lecanii."

pamsai 6 years ago

Argybee, Do you think the ladybugs would survive a trip to India? How would I keep them in my garden, if they do?

pamsai 6 years ago

Hi Satyan, have tried everything natural I can think of... Soap, Neem, a cocktail of tobacco leaf, ginger, garlic, chilli, neem oil and neem soap, and also strong pesticides - nothing works. Well it works for a while, then as soon as it gets hot, they multiply in front of my eyes. They affect most things, but the hibiscus -
and the papaya -
are most susceptable. Last year while I was away, it killed ALL my papaya plants. They looked a little different, though... more like cotton wool.
Wonder if lady bugs would survive the trip to India, then if the'd survive in my garden, I'd need thousands of them!
But I'm getting desperate. About ready to give up on gardening!

Sachin Zaveri
Sachin Zaveri 6 years ago
Wild Things
Wild Things 6 years ago

Or maybe as suggested by Argybee we get some lady bugs imported, I would be interested to get some too.

Wild Things
Wild Things 6 years ago

Not sure what this is Pamsai. But, I think neem water/neem oil should solve most of bug problems in the garden. Will do some research and get back to you.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

to control it you need a ladybird from Oz...

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

cottony cushion scale?

pamsai 6 years ago

anyone know what king of pest this might be, or how I can control it?

Tamil Nadu, India

Lat: 12.23, Long: 79.07

Spotted on Mar 17, 2012
Submitted on Mar 17, 2012

Spotted for mission

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