Mealybug attack to mangoes

Alarm !!, my mangoes are affected with mealybug. I just noticed fruits hanging in low branches a have got the bug. I was very watchful for mealybug attack as it is commonly found in warmer climates. Also there were some papaya trees which were infected by mealybug and I had removed them last year. Mealybugs are associated with some types of ants and they increase the rate of infection. Why do ants love mealy bugs?? Reason is ants feed on the honeydew produced by mealybug and in fact ants protect their delicious food source from other bug eaters.

mealybug-attacked-mango

Controlling mealy bug at early stage is extremely important as their expansion is rapid. Mealybug females appear as nymphs lay 300-600 eggs during their life. Shortly after laying eggs the female dies. It takes 2 weeks to hatch eggs. In case of mealybug attack in house plants they can be quarantined or treat with other pest control methods. But for mangoes it is really important to treat them quickly as possible. Neem oil is the most effective means of controlling mealybug and it is an organic product too. It is not harmful to bees or other species, and to most important fruit. It has to be applied every 5 days continuously to control the attack completely.

 

ants-with-mealybug

 

As soon as I noticed mealybug I applied(sprayed) neem oil (or Neem extraction) 2 weeks back and continued to apply every 5 days. And I noticed how ants are associated with mealybugs. When neem oil is applied, ants tend to move away from those branches. I will have to keep applying this for next 2-3 weeks till harvesting my Willard mangoes.

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