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Mealy bug infestation in SVG under control – Agriculture Chief

Mealy bug infestation in SVG under control – Agriculture Chief

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The pink hibiscus mealy bug is present in St Vincent and the Grenadines, but it is being adequately controlled by biological methods.{{more}}

Chief agricultural officer Leslie Grant told Searchlight yesterday that this country uses biological methods to deal with the pest, and once biological methods are used, there will always be remnants of the bug here; it will not be eradicated.

“Basically, biological control is the best,” Grant said.

He explained that the mealy bug has a wax over it, and usually burrows into the crevices of plants; so, to treat the bug with pesticides, something would have to be used to dissolve the wax, or a systemic insecticide would have to be used, to get to the bug in the crevices of plants.

“If you have to dump so much chemical in the environment, at the end of the day it is not good. You have to balance it,” the chief said.

Grant said what is usually recommended is the biological control to keep the bug at manageable levels. This, he said, is the method which has been used for several years.

The Cvhief agricultural officer, however, said that the mealy bug is usually at its peak at this time of the year, during the dry season.

Despite this, he is of the view that the infestation in St Vincent and the Grenadines is under control. He said the hibiscus family, which would include sorrel and ochro, are highly susceptible to the mealy bug, and are not showing signs that the mealy bug infestation here is out of control.

The pink hibiscus mealy bug, maconellicoccus hirsutus, is a serious pest of many plants in tropical and subtropical regions. It was found in the Caribbean in 1994 for the first time.

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