JIS News

Some 6,000 parasitoid wasps have been released in various locations in Portland by the Ministry of Agriculture, to help in the fight to halt the spread of the Pink Mealy Bug in the parish.
The task, which was carried out on September 13 by a technical team from the Bodles Agricultural Station in St. Catherine, is the latest in a series of initiatives undertaken by the ministry to eliminate the presence of the bug, which was discovered in the parish in June of this year.
Locations in which the wasps have been let loose include Wain Road, John’s Town Road and Anchovy Gardens in Port Antonio; Drapers, Islington, Commodore, Windsor Forest, and Fair Prospect.
The wasps will feed on the bugs in these areas, thereby enhancing the eradication process.
Speaking to JIS News, Michelle Sherwood, Acting Senior Plant Protection Officer in the Research and Development Division at the Bodles Agricultural Station, said the distribution of the wasps was the second such exercise to be undertaken in the parish since the presence of the Pink Mealy Bug was discovered.
She noted that the first distribution was done in August, and that further distributions would be conducted in the infested areas.
Miss Sherwood appealed to residents in the areas in which the wasps have been distributed, not to treat or cut sections of the plants in which the wasps have been lodged, as that would retard the growth in their population, thus rendering their impact less effective.
She said that the population of the bug and the wasps would be carefully monitored to assess the effectiveness of the programme, adding that training would also be provided for the staff of the Port Antonio Office of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), to provide the technical capabilities to conduct the Pink Mealy Bug eradication programme in the parish.

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