Possibilities for integrated control of citrus mealybugin commercial ornamental greenhouses
Abstract: Since the 2000’s, the citrus mealybug Planococcus citri has become a key pest inintegrated ornamental greenhouse crops in The Netherlands. While adopting a more integratedapproach toward controlling other pests, growers have abandoned regular applications of broadspectrum pesticides, thereby allowing mealybugs to become more widespread. The benefits ofboth inundative and inoculative releases of (commercially available) natural enemies of this pesthave been studied. Three encyrtid parasitoid species: Coccidoxenoides perminutus, Leptomastixdactylopii and Anagyrus pseudococci were tested on potted plants Epipremnum aureum infestedwith citrus mealybug Planococcus citri. Parasitoid performance was evaluated under confinedconditions in large cages. Weekly release of L. dactylopii and A. pseudococci supressed thedevelopment of small hot spots and prevented the spread of mealybug from infested plants tohealthy plants, but did not result in pest eradication. Most Epipremnum plants treated by thesetwo parasitoids were marketable. C. perminutus gave insufficient control. The relevance ofintroducing natural enemies for controlling mealybugs in greenhouse ornamentals is discussed.