The tea mosquito bug is an injurious pest on guava fruit. Besides guava, it is a major pest of cashew, cocoa, avocado, apple, grapes, drumstick, silk cotton, pepper, cinchona, ber, camphor, tamarind and neem trees.
The nymphs and adults of this pest by virtue of their sap sucking behaviour cause a warty surface on the fruit and corky scab making the fruits unsuitable for marketing and consumption.
Nymphs and adults feed on tender leaves, shoots and fruits. Resin exudes from feeding puncture. Leaves and shoots turn brown, with black blisters on fruit surface leading to blemished fruits. Rusty spots on fruits and shedding of fruits are often witnessed in guava orchards.
Adult bugs appear with mixed colour of red, black and white with long legs and antennae, looking like mosquitos. About 500 sausage shaped eggs are thrust by a female bug into the tissues of green shoots, buds and leaves.
Within two to three days the nymphs hatch out, start sucking the sap up to 3-4 weeks.
They look like ants, long and hairy, amber coloured which then turn into adults, living for about 10 weeks. The entire life cycle is completed in 22-25 days. Heavy and continuous rains with no sunshine are a favourable climate for its rapid multiplication. They are active from January to September.
Collect and destroy the damaged plant parts. Regular pruning and shade regulation facilitates proper penetration of sunlight inside the canopy which reduces the incidence of this pest.
Bagging of fruits in high density planting system prevents infestation of tea mosquito bug as well as fruit fly.
Raise yellow sticky traps at 40-50 nos/acre. Encouragement of the egg parasitoid viz. Telenomus sp. minimises the usage of pesticides.
Bimonthly spray from the time of flowering with malathion 0.1 per cent, lambda cyhalothrin 0.005 per cent, neem formulation at 2ml/lit minimises damages.
Application of mineral oil 3 per cent and 5 per cent leaf extract of the five-leaved chaste tree, vitex negundo, provides a good control.
(Dr. J. Jayaraj is Professor and Dr. M. Kalyanasundaram is Professor and Head, Department of Entomology, Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai 625 104,Phone No. 0452-2422956 Extn.214, Email: email@example.com)J. Jayaraj