Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, India
Title: Exclusion of ants in management of Papaya mealy bug
S. Divya has completed her PhD at the age of 27 years from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University. She is currently working as Subject Matter Specialist in Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Hans Roever Campus, Perambalur. She published one of the works of her PhD research in National Journal. She has got one best paper presentation award in National Seminar. She is also the Project Incharge in project National Information System for Pest Management (NISPM) in Bt cotton sponsored by DOCD and Ministry of Agriculture. She was Course teacher for Final year B.Sc (Agri) students AEN. 503- Commercial Bee keeping during the year 2012-13.
Papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus Williams and Granara de Willink) the invasive pest from Central American countries has caused havoc in agricultural and horticultural crops in India. Papaya mealybug is a polyphagous pest that damages many tropical crops. In India it was introduced in 2008 and it attains the status of major pest in 2009 when it causes severe damage to economically important crops. Recently exotic parasitoids Acerophagous papayae Noyes & Schauff, Anagyrus loecki Noyes, and Pseudleptomastix mexicana Noyes & Schauff (Hymenoptera:Encyrtidae) was introduced to India in 2010 and its efficacy was assessed. The parasitoid A. papayae is well established and efficient in controlling P. marginatus. The Efficiency of A. papayae was reduced due to the association of Phoretic ants. Mealybug control often involves the control of care taking ants that was important for the proper development of mealybugs. In the absence of ants, mealybug population was small and slowed to invade new areas and the field would be free of a serious melaybug infestation. Ants helped in spreading the mealybugs and provided protection from predatory ladybird beetles, parasite and other natural enemies. Therefore, management of mealybugs often includes the control of ant species. The present study was to emphasize that management of phoretic ants which is associated with papaya mealybug to bring down the papaya mealybug population by increasing the parasitization rate of the predominant exoitic parasitoid Acerophagus papayae. The phoretic ants exclusion technique itself reduced the mealybug population to the extent of 54.31 per cent in 60 days after exclusion in cotton.