JIS News

As efforts to eliminate the Pink Mealy Bug in Portland intensifies, the Ministry of Agriculture is distributing the lady bird beetle in the affected areas.
Marina Young, Senior Plant Health Food Safety Specialist at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), told JIS News that the lady bird beetle was in addition to parasitoid wasps, which have been in distribution in the affected areas since the pink hibiscus mealy bug was detected in the parish in June of this year.
She said the lady bird beetle, like the parasitoid wasp, was one of the natural enemies of the pink hibiscus mealy bug, adding that the initial distribution of the beetle was done earlier this month in the community of Anchovy in the parish.
Noting that subsequent distributions will be carried out in December, Mrs. Young said the circulation of the lady bird beetle, in addition to the on-going release of the parasitoid wasps, would be very effective in eliminating the presence of the pink mealy bug in the communities.
The lady bird beetle is produced in Trinidad, while the parasitoid wasp is produced in the United States of America.
Both parasites are provided for Jamaica free of cost by the Ministry of Agriculture in Trinidad and Tobago and the United States Department of Agriculture, to assist in the fight against the spread of the pink hibiscus mealy bug in the country.A total of 58,000 parasitoid wasps have been distributed in Portland since the presence of the mealy bug was detected.
Acting Senior Plant Protection Officer at the Bodles Agricultural Research Station in St. Catherine, Michelle Sherwood said significant improvement has occurred in the affected areas as a result of the distribution of the wasps.