Time to tackle bugs that attack mango trees
YOU faced the menace posed by those waxy little devils called mango mealy bugs last summer. It was too late to check them then. If you take corrective measures now you can save your plants, and even your house, from this bug next summer.
Looking for a cool refuge, these bugs creep under the pots, climb up the walls to hide under the cantilevers, or enter the house through door crevices. You can see thousands of them sticking to the growing plant parts. Though the name mango mealy bug may imply that it is a pest that attacks only mango trees, it has a tendency to infest about 60 plant species.
The fleshy flat-bodied
creatures have a waxy, off-white appearance. They suck the plant sap,
congregating in hundreds on the new growth on tree terminals. They sap
the plant of vital nutrients and the damage caused by them attracts all
kinds of fungi on to the plant, the most common being the sooty mould.
Besides, they have tremendous nuisance value as one can hardly avoid
stepping on the creatures crawling all over the place. There is also the
risk of these insects being swallowed by toddlers in the home.
The crawling insects do not have wings. It is best to take advantage of this shortcoming. One of the easiest and most effective method to check the upward movement of the insects is to apply a slippery band around the trunk of the tree. For this, you can tie a 15 to 20 centimetre wide sheet of alkathene near the basal end of the trunk and secure both its ends with the help of three or four nails. The lower end of the sheet can also be smeared and compacted with mud so as to check the upward movement of nymphs from below the sheet. Advise your neighbours also to do likewise otherwise the branches of their mango trees protruding into your garden will allow the invasion of these pests from the next door. Also take care of the stems touching the boundary walls. The insect might crawl up the wall and then the tree. You can also do hoeing near the base of the tree, thus exposing the insects and apply methyl parathion (2 per cent) dust during this period to kill the emerging nymphs.