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Phys.Org

New research maps potential global spread of devastating papaya mealybug pest

by CABI

New research maps potential global spread of devastating papaya mealybug pest
Credit: CABI

CABI scientists have mapped the potential global spread of the devastating papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus), highlighting new areas in Africa, Asia and the Americas into which this pest could potentially invade.https://acc5e9c37d7b810ac61700bc528d240c.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

The papaya mealybug, which is native to Mexico and Central America, can have severe impacts upon livelihoods and food security. In Ghana, for example, infestations led to a 65% yield loss which reduced export earnings and resulted in the loss of 1,700 jobs.

Using location data received through collaborations with Kerala Agricultural University, India; the National Rice Research Institute, India; the Bangladesh Agricultural University; University of Queensland, Australia; the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA); Fujan Agriculture and Forestry University in China and CSIRO, researchers were able to model the potential distribution of this pest, taking into account environmental conditions, and the distribution of suitable host crops and irrigation patterns.

The researchers, led by CABI’s Dr. Elizabeth Finch, believe the polyphagous insect pest, which affects over 200 plants including economically important crops such as papaya, cassava and avocado, could spread to areas such as the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Cameroon, Zambia, Madagascar and western Ethiopia which are environmentally suitable and have suitable crop hosts.

In the Americas, the research, published in the journal Pest Management Science, suggests papaya mealybug could extend into El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama—although the scientists believe it could already be in these locations but its presence is yet to be confirmed.

Whilst papaya mealybug is already present in Florida, where it is under successful control as a result of the release of endoparasitoid wasp species—Acerophagus papayae, Anagyrus loecki, Anagyrus californicus—suitable conditions for this pest are also present in the southern tip of Texas.

Conditions are likely to be too cold in the rest of the USA for permanent papaya mealybug populations, however the research showed that seasonal populations could survive in California, along the Pacific coastline and in the central and eastern states of the USA during the warmer summer months.

In Asia, the areas with suitable conditions were more expansive than the areas with known populations of papaya mealybug, suggesting the potential for further expansion of papaya mealybug specifically in India, Southeast Asia and the southern regions of the Guangxi and Guangdong provinces of southern China.

However, in Australasia the risk is low as only a small amount of fragmented land along the north-eastern side of Queensland, from the very northern tip of Queensland to Bundaberg, is climatically suitable. This is due to heat stress from the high temperatures on the continent.

Similarly, in Europe—though due to cold rather than heat stress—widespread distribution of papaya mealybug is not expected, with only a very small area of land surrounding Seville in Spain and around Sicily in Italy having suitable conditions for resident populations.

Dr. Finch said, “This pest has been so successful due to its quick development and prolific reproductive capacity. It has the potential to spread to new areas and rapidly reach high numbers unless suitable phytosanitary or control methods are implemented.

“Information about the papaya mealybug’s potential distribution is important as it can highlight key areas susceptible to invasion, giving an early warning to decision makers, allowing them to put into place phytosanitary measures to prevent or slow the invasion of the pest into their jurisdiction.”

Dr. Finch added, “In areas where the papaya mealybug has become established and reached a high enough population density, the use of parasitoids—such as Acerophagus papayae and Anagyrus loecki—remains an effective potential control method.

“Further ecological niche modeling of these parasitoid species is recommended to anticipate their survival, fitness and ultimate biological control impact in areas into which papaya mealybug could potentially expand and become established.”


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WEST HAWAII TODAY

Posted March 30, 2014 – 1:00am
Invasive species bill stirs debate

– See more at: http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/invasive-species-bill-stirs-debate#sthash.6svZCvj7.dpuf

 

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HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Springer Kaye of the Big Island Invasive Species Committee show how to attract and find out if your garden or plant has little fire ants by placing peanut butter on the end of chopsticks and sticking the chopsticks into the soil peanut butter side up. Once the chopstick is covered in ants, Kaye says to place a plastic bag over the chopsticks and close the bag. Then place the bag in the freezer until able to take the ants to be identified. – See more at: http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/invasive-species-bill-stirs-debate#sthash.Ruhal9S0.dpuf

By MEGAN MOSELEY
Stephens Media Hawaii
A Maui coffee farmer said controlling invasive species such as the coqui frog and fire ant is a Big Island problem.

“They already have them, we don’t. Why put the cost on us?” asked Bobbie Becker, owner of Maui Mountain Coffee Farm. “They’ve got it there.”

Becker is a supporter of state Senate Bill 2347 — written as an attempt to control the spread of invasive species to the local agriculture industry — which soon will be taken up by the House Finance Committee.

Parts of the bill would prohibit the transportation of the pests and establishes penalties for violations, including language that would require any commercial entity that transports invasive species to pay a fine equal to the value of the infested shipment.

Eric Tanouye, president of Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association and vice president of Green Point Nurseries, called the bill “a detriment to the Big Island.”

“They are distracting, and distracting all of us from the main objective,” he said. “How do we make ag thrive on the Big Island and in the State of Hawaii?”

Springer Kaye, manager of the Big Island Invasive Species Committee, said the committee agrees with the intent of the bill, but does not support SB 2347 and thinks it puts the Big Island at a disadvantage.

“Unfortunately, SB 2347 specifically targets the already struggling horticulture and agriculture economy on the Island of Hawaii, without providing any appropriation to re-establish the state programs required to effectively stop the spread of invasive species,” she said. “Rather than creating a path toward a healthy exchange of pest-free, island-grown produce, this bill will put a stop to any intraisland, and in some cases, cross-island trade.”

Big Island Reps. Faye Hanohano and Clift Tsuji were among the six representatives who voted in favor of the measure March 21.

Tsuji said he voted with “strong reservations” and recognizes the concerns of Big Island ag supporters.

“They have strong doubts and disagree with what the purpose of the bill is trying to do,” he said. “They think it would devastate the industry,” he said.

Tsuji thinks the state could take a different approach at solving the spread of invasive species.

“We have to stop the spread of invasive species in the state of Hawaii,” he said. “How do we do that? By getting inspectors, inspectors, inspectors.”

Tanouye agreed.

“Our industry is 100 percent for the Department of Agriculture hiring more full-time inspectors,” he said.

Kaye also believes there are better alternatives to solving the problem.

“In SB 2347 and similar punitive bills, the Legislature attempts to address problems directly resulting from a decade of defunding successful state programs and positions including the Hawaii Department of Agriculture inspection and pest control programs, Hawaii Department of Health Vector Control Branch, Division of Forestry and Wildlife Invasive Species technicians and the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, which received zero dollars in general funds in 2007 and from 2010-13,” she said in an email.

The bill would put the state Department of Agriculture in charge of identifying infested areas, providing information about managing and mitigating the pest populations and working with commercial entities to implement the practices.

Janelle Saneishi, DOA public information officer, said the department will host a private meeting on the bill this week.

“Our legislative team says the department supports the intent of the bill, which is to prevent the movement of invasive species interisland,” she said. “We have set a meeting with the industry to hear their concerns to come up with a bill that is effective but does not overburden our local farmers and growers.”

Email Megan Moseley at mmoseley@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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