Accepted 16th March, 2020.
The study on occurrence of papaya mealybug (Paracoccus Marginatus, Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) and its damages on papaya (Carica papayaL.) plants in Jubek State (part of former Central Equatoria State)was investigated between August, 2018 and July/September, 2019 for first time. The prime objective of this study was to access the distribution, damage and host range of the pest. So far, the pest (Paracoccus Marginatus) has been observed on more than 52 plant species in 27 families. Of these 27 families, 8 genera are from the Malvaceae e.g. Hibiscus sabdarriffa, kerkede; Abelmoschus Esculentus, okra were heavily infested followed by 4 genera from the Euphorbiaceae of which Manihot esculenta (cassava) was severely infested. However, amongst the wide range of host plants observed, papaya (Caricaceae), hibiscus (Malvaceae), Bullock’s heart (Annonaceae), cassava (Euphorbiaceae) and guava (Anacardaceae) were amongst those heavily infested. It was observed that most of the plant hosts infested were dicots (88.5%) and monocots (11.5%) suggesting that the papaya mealybug prefer or attack dicots more than monocots. The study recommends a smart IPM (Integrated Pest Management) control (both biological and chemical control) to avert the spread of the pest. This should measures should be enforced while scaling up sound phytosanitary legislative measures which should be imposed on imports of horticultural crops or planting material (which are possible material harbouring mealybugs). Import of fruits should be thoroughly inspected before entry into the country. To date, the control of the pest including; pruning, burning, restriction of infested plants or plant parts, removal of alternative hosts, uses of biopesticides (e.g. neem extracts), soapy water, chemical pesticides (e.g. Diomethoate 30 EC, 2ml L-1 of water or Lufenuron/Emamectin). Furthermore, smart IPM and plant hygiene should ensure that, once detected, all infested plants or material should be collected and burned to prevent spread from areas heavy infestation to areas where no pest incidence has been reported. While this survey is a very important bench mark, more information is needed in prediction, surveillance, distribution and abundance of this pest in other states of South Sudan
Keywords: Papaya mealybug, Paracoccus Marginatus, occurrence and distribution, IPM, South Sudan