Mealybug Management in Paddy: Symptoms, Treatment, Chemical, Biological, Natural, and Organic Control

Mealybugs are wax-covered soft oval insects that feed on plant sap in rice crops. These mealybugs cause damage to plants all over the world in humid and warm climates. Mealybugs, which feed on plant sap, cause harm to a wide variety of agronomic and vegetable crops, fruit crops, and ornamentals. Usually found in groups, They are piercing-sucking insects that are closely related to soft scales but lack scale coverings.

Mealybug Management in Paddy

They, like soft scales, may generate a lot of honeydew and are frequently connected with black sooty mold. Paddy, generally known as rice, is a major crop farmed for human use in many places. The rice crop is used for many purposes, including human and livestock feed and the creation of beer, vinegar, and sake.

Mealybug management in Paddy

The life cycle of the Mealybug

Females deposit 300 to 500 eggs in 5 to 10 days. Females die after depositing their eggs. Because their life cycle is temperature dependent, it takes them around 90 days to mature from egg to adult at 18 °C/ 64 °F and 30 days at 30 °C/ 86 °F. Mealybugs go through three nymphal stages. Only the males complete the transition into winged adults.

Causes of Mealybug population growth in the field

  1. The Mealybug’s eggs are also deposited in the soil. Nymphs and adults can crawl to nearby plants after hatching. Wind, ants, animals, birds, or even simple farming tasks like trimming or harvesting can distribute them long distances. 
  2. Warm temperatures and dry conditions promote their life cycle and the severity of their symptoms.
  3. They have a variety of alternate hosts, including tomato, brinjal, and sweet potato, as well as several weeds.

Identification characters of Mealybug in Rice field

  • Eggs are laid in a pouch that looks like cotton.
  • The young nymphs, which are mobile, spread out to find places to suck the sap from plant parts.
  • Male bugs are small and aren’t often seen in the crop.
  • The females have white, waxy threads all over them. They look like grown-up nymphs.
  • Females and young live in groups in safe places like the axils of leaves and under loose bark.

Damage symptoms of Mealybug in Rice field

  1. White cotton-like masses appear on plants and are made of flocks of bugs.
  2. Infestations can cause yellowing and curling of leaves, stunted growth, and No grain filling.
  3. The bugs excrete honeydew, making the plant tissues sticky and prone to bacteria and fungi.
  4. The honeydew may attract ants and spread the pest to other plants.
  5. Older leaves are less likely to become deformed or distorted.

In case you missed it: Leaf Folder Management in Paddy: Symptoms, Treatment, Chemical, Biological, Natural, and Organic Control

Mealybug Management in Paddy Farming

Percentage of yield loss due to Mealybug in Paddy crop

From April to early July, the Mealy bug is in abundance. During this time, two generations are accomplished in the life cycle. They cause severe damage to crops as Adult and nymph mealybugs both suck plant sap. It causes the leaves to curl and the plants to wilt. Rice mealybug causes significant agricultural losses in Bangladesh, India, and Thailand. Plants can wilt and perish when pest density is high (more than 100 mealybugs/hill).

When Mealybugs begin to cause damage in a Paddy field

They feed by directly inserting their mouthparts into the plant and drawing nutrients from the sap. Mealybugs wax the stems and leaf nodes white and fluffy. They sticky leaves, stems, and fruit by sucking plant sap and excreting honeydew. Sooty mold on honeydew blackens the surfac