Wednesday, 26 July 2023 08:31:15
Papaya mealybug confirmed in Northern Territory
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade has increased plant surveillance after a confirmed sample of the papaya mealybug was found in the Darwin region.
The suspected Paracoccus marginatus was discovered after the Plant Biosecurity team received a call from a concerned resident in Parap last week, who identified a cluster of white coloured insects on their papaya plants.
There are many species of mealybug including a native Australian species which can appear to be similar in appearance. To confirm whether the retrieved sample was Paracoccus marginatus, the insects were subject to further testing, which subsequently came back positive this week.
Additional surveillance has since identified infestations at residential properties in Parap, the Narrows and Winnellie.
The papaya mealybug appears as a cluster of white ‘cotton-like’ mass, usually found on the fruit or underside of the leaves of affected plants.
Although the papaya mealybug does not pose a threat to humans or animals, affected plants may appear deformed, wilted and the papaya fruit likely to remain hard and bitter, with the papaya, hibiscus and frangipani species particularly susceptible.
Surveillance and testing has been ramped up across the Top End. The Plant Biosecurity team will continue surveillance activities and the public is requested to not move suspected infected plants, plant cutting or fruit from their gardens.
The team will work closely with residents and industry during the surveillance period.
Residents of the Darwin region are advised to check plants on their properties and report anything unusual to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.
During this time, the public are requested to not take cuttings from plants such as hibiscus, frangipani and papaya and to refrain from purchasing plants from uncertified sources.
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