Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Anticipating the Mealybug

The Pink Hibiscus mealybug (Maconellicoccus hirsutus) has arrived in the U.S., but no one has been caught off-guard. According to this story at ABCNews.com, the USDA has been preparing for this invasion for years, with the advance knowledge that the species attacks a wide range of agricultural crops. While pesticides have been relatively ineffective in combatting this Asian pest, researchers have had success with a parasitic wasp (Anagyrus kamali) from China that lays eggs inside the adult mealybugs. So for several years a lab in Puerto Rico has been breeding the wasps, anticipating their eventual release in the U.S. Looks like their time has come, and the place is Florida.

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