A network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests.
PestNet is a network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests. It started in 1999. Anyone with an interest in plant protection is welcome to join. PestNet is free and is moderated, ensuring that messages are confined to plant protection.
May 2017. A long message from USP, Fiji about ants, scales and mealbugs. Here it is in full:
“Does anyone have any up-to-date information or are there ongoing studies on the seemingly recent incursion/explosion in Fiji and perhaps elsewhere in the Pacific of the white-footed ant (WFA) (Technomyrmex difficilis) and its ally (or vice-versa) the pink hibiscus mealybug (PHM) (Maconellicoccus hirsutus)? They are both considered serious here and the hibiscus mealybug is a particular concern in the Caribbean and its most recent port of arrival is Jamaica where it reportedly causes over $US 3 million loss in crops and horticultural plants per year. All our citrus trees, some of our Sapindaceae, guava and hibiscus in our yard are infested with the PHM’s mealy or fungus like crusts and associated WFAs which seem to feed on the honey dew.
“Apparently PHM injects a toxin that can cause yellowing of leaves and kill heavily infested or weakened plants, like it did to a recently heavily pruned Hibiscus tiliaceus tree in our garden. Although Wetter reports that the WFA was not in Fiji in his 2013 paper on the cosmopolitan spread of WFA, Sarnat and Economo (2012) in their Ants of Fiji report the presence of Technomyrmex vitiensis, which was reportedly dominant in forest and disturbed sites, which is what Wetterer reports for Technomyrmex difficilis in his 2013 paper. Could it be that T. vitiensis is one and the same as T. difficilis“.
Later, the same member wrote that the ant species had been identified as Technomyrmex albipes (which is a synonym for T. difficilis) by MPI, New Zealand.