Parasite destroys mango pest
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CTA. 1989. Parasite destroys mango pest. Spore 24. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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A new species of mealybug which was causing millions of dollars' worth of damage to mango and other trees in West Africa is being successfully counteracted by an Asian parasite. Since 1981 mangoes, mandarins, guavas, breadfruit, and citrus have...
A new species of mealybug which was causing millions of dollars' worth of damage to mango and other trees in West Africa is being successfully counteracted by an Asian parasite. Since 1981 mangoes, mandarins, guavas, breadfruit, and citrus have been attacked by a fungus which in some cases cut production by up to 80%. Trade declined, and children - deprived of fruit - were lacking essential vitamins. Chemical sprays were tried, but were found to be less than totally effective, and the costs were prohibitive. The cause was found to be a species of mealybug, previously found in India, and identified as Rastrococcus invadens by Dr Doug Williams, a CABI taxonomist and world authority on mealybugs, who was brought in to give advice on the problem. Dr Dave Moore, the entomologist in charge of the CIBC (CAB International Institute of Biological Control) project, knew that CIBC had entomologists working in India and they eventually found the parasite which attacks and kills the bug. Tests revealed that the parasite (Gyranusoidea tebygi) would cause no threat to the ecology of West Africa, since it attacks the mealybug and nothing else. In 1987 the first 300 were introduced at the National Plant Protection Service at Cacaveli, north of Lome. After less than a month they had multiplied sufficiently to be released onto a single mango tree at the research station. It took three to four weeks for the effects to be noticeable: the mealybugs disappeared and the tree recovered. Since then the parasites have been released all over Togo. National Plant Protection Service Cacaveli- Lome - TOGO
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