Survey of natural enemies of the banana mealybug Dysmicoccus grassii in the Canary Islands
Abstract: The banana mealybug, Dysmicoccus grassii (Leonardi) (Hemiptera; Pseudococcidae), is a major pest in banana plantations in the Canary Islands, for which chemical control is becoming ineffective and more restricted due to new governmental regulations and consumer preferences for pesticide residue free products. Consequently, alternative control methods, such as biological control, are receiving more attention. Nevertheless, there are not yet effective natural enemies that allow an efficient augmentative biocontrol of D. grassii in commercial banana crops. For that, we conducted this study in which we surveyed a total of 19 and 8 banana plantations in Gran Canaria and Tenerife islands, respectively, between April and August of 2016. Similarity index among plantations was high, whereas little diversity was found, as a total of 9 species of predators and parasitic wasps were found. Interestingly, there are some species that can be new records for natural enemies associated with D. grassii populations.