Integration of cultural and mechanical practices for management of the mango mealybug Drosicha mangiferae
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- Karar, H., Sayyed, A.H., Arif, M.J. et al. Phytoparasitica (2010) 38: 223. doi:10.1007/s12600-010-0094-8
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Mango (Mangifera indica L.) is one of the most economically important trees which has been cultivated for several centuries. The tree is susceptible to insect damage and is attacked by leaf eaters, termites, root grubs, sapsuckers, gall formers, stem borers, pod borers and fruit borers. The mango mealybug Drosicha mangiferae Green (Hemiptera: Monophlebidae) is one of the most destructive pests in the Indo-Pak subcontinent, sometimes causing premature fruit drop. A combination of several management strategies such as use of entomopathogens, chemical insecticides and burning of adult females has been used to control D. mangiferae. Overreliance on insecticides has eliminated natural enemies, and we were therefore interested in investigating the impact of alternative insect pest management strategies such as cultural and mechanical techniques on D. mangiferae. The results of our studies suggested that different bands significantly stopped the upward movement of overwintering and surviving populations of D. mangiferae. To augment the bands’ results, mounding the tree with debris on a plastic sheet once a year was the most effective technique and resulted in maximum reduction of the nymphal population of D. mangiferae. The newly developed Haider band—designed in our laboratory in the present studies—was very successful in the field in controlling the upward movement of newly hatched nymphs on trees: only 0.8% of the nymphs crossed the band. Only 7% to 10% of the nymphs crossed plastic sheets, polyethylene sheets and funnel bands. The cotton and gunny bag (jute) bands were the least effective: 42% of the nymphs managed to cross them. The results suggested that employing cultural practices and bands together could reduce the need for insecticide treatments and offer a sustainable method for D. mangiferae control.