I’ve mentioned the papaya mealybug infection in several previous posts. Unfortunately, the papaya mealy bug (Paracoccus marginatus) continues to be a problem.
Spraying neem on the infected plants is one effective option, except that it turned out I’m allergic to neem oil. Severely. And I have no desire to go through that horrid hive experience again. Ugh.
At this point, the lime tree is one of the few plants still affected in our yard. I’d pruned the lime tree back in February, leaving only about 1/8th of its existing foliage. Unfortunately, it was quickly reinfected and didn’t really grow back all that well. Today, I trimmed off all infected areas of the lime tree. Around 20 leaves remain. It’s bald.
The source of the reinfection? The neighbor’s jak fruit tree and curry leaf tree. The curry leaf tree was so badly infected that it died and was eventually cut down. The jak tree has lost a significant amount of its foliage and has been trimmed a few times and now has about 1/4 the foliage it used to have. It’s otherwise untreated, as far as I can tell, which means that it’s most likely going to die as well.
My lime tree was not doing well, no doubt because of the papaya mealybug, which sucks on the tree’s sap and slowly kills it. There are a limited number of ways of killing the papaya mealybug, and trimming the affected parts of the tree off is one of them.
The papaya mealybug’s only known predator, a wasp (Acerophagus papayae), arrived in Sri Lanka at least last May and have been released in selected areas. It’s estimated it’ll take six months to a year before the papaya mealybug is brought under control in Sri Lanka. Good thing it’s here since the wasp is the only effective deterrent to the papaya mealybug.