Bondi Junction NSW, Australia
Fact Sheets
Papaya mealybug (328)
Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds
Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds


  • Worldwide distribution. On fruit trees, vegetables, root crops, ornamentals, weeds. An important papaya mealybug.
  • Damage: (i) thick layers of mealybugs and white wax on fruit and leaves causing yellowing, stunting, fruit drop; (ii) sooty moulds grow on honeydew, covering leaves, and staining fruit.
  • Eggs laid into egg sac underneath female; produce 'crawlers' (nymphs); these moult developing into females, up to 2.2 mm long, with yellow bodies, covered in white wax, fringed with waxy threads. Males, short-lived, fly-like insects with wings.
  • Spread by crawlers walking, or carried by wind, vehicles, animals, birds, on clothes, and the trade in plants. 
  • Natural enemies: ladybird beetles, wasp parasitoids (e.g., Acerophagus papayae).
  • Cultural control: for ants: boiling water; prune low branches and remove weeds (to stop ants).
  • Chemical control: use soap, horticultural or white oils (see Fact Sheet no. 56); avoid malathion and synthetic pyrethroids - they will kill natural enemies. Only use pyrethroids to kill ants.

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