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Biological control of papaya mealybug (paracoccus marginatus Hem: Pseudcoccidae) in East Timor and Oriental scale (Aonidiella orientalis, Hem: Diaspididae) on Papaya in Northern Territory

An outbreak of mealybugs discovered on papaya in East Timor in August 2010 was identified as the papaya mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus, a native of Central America. This pest has also affected USA and a number of South Pacific and Asian countries, but three encyrtid wasp parasitoids collected from Mexico and introduced to many of these countries have given excellent control of the mealybug. This project is designed to assist East Timor in obtaining these parasitoids and to network with other Asian countries with a view to collaborating on the control of this pest. Biological control would drastically reduce the populations of the mealybug in East Timor, and this would decrease the risk of it reaching Australia. Another pest of papaya, the oriental scale (Aonidiella orientalis), has been found in the Northern Territory. The scale was controlled in Queensland by an encyrtid parasitoid introduced from China in 1988, and the project will obtain this parasitoid from Queensland for release in NT.