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A survey of the pineapple mealybug in Puerto Rico and preliminary studies of its control


A survey of the pineapple mealybug in Puerto Rico and preliminary studies of its control



Jour Agric Univ Puerto Rico 24(2): 49-76



Observations in 1936 showed that the pineapple mealybug, Pseudococcus brevipes, was distributed over 4 of the 5 pineapple-producing areas of Puerto Rico, that 16 spp. of ants were associated with the mealybugs, and that 24 other plant spp. harbored the insects, serving as reservoirs of infestation. It was not unusual to find 80% of pineapple plants infested, the infestation being slightly heavier in outside rows. Neither elevation nor type of soil appeared to affect infestation. Heavily infested plants were stunted and produced small fruits. Ants spread mealybugs from plant to plant and probably from field to field. The presence of small, flesh-colored larvae in the waxy secretion surrounding groups of mealybugs indicated that some of the mealybugs are attacked by parasites. Moths reared from the larvae were identified as (1) a sp. of Tinea, (2) a sp. of the pyralid genus Genopaschia, and (3) a sp. of Cecidomyiidae. A hymenopterous parasite, Hambletonia pseudococcina, introduced from Brazil and Hawaii, has become established; another imported parasite, Anagyrus coccidi-vorus, has not been recovered. When infested slips were submerged in water for 96 hrs., 99% of the mealybugs were destroyed, but the treatment killed more than half the plants. Submersion for 72 hrs. reduced the infestation by 92%, killed 15% of the plants. Treatment of slips with moisture-saturated air at 115[degree] for 6 hrs. reduced the infestation by 94%, killed none of the plants.

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