What are Mealybugs?
There are different kinds of mealybugs. Each kind has a slightly different shape. They may be white, pinkish or greenish.
A single mealybug can produce many young bugs that are so small they look like dust. As mealybugs grow, they go through different stages, each time shedding their white waxy skin. The young bugs crawl, but the older ones tend to stay in one place.
Mealybugs causes Reduced growth and small tubers
Cassava mealybugs can spread quickly on infested cuttings and destroy your entire harvest. Mealybugs pierce the cassava plant to drink its juice. The plant then grows smaller leaves and a bunchy top, so the plant captures less sunlight and grows more slowly. As a result the tubers will be small.
How to Control Mealybugs in Cassava
1. After harvesting cassava, remove and burn harvest residues to kill any mealybugs that may be living on them.
2. Plant another crop first, before planting cassava again.
3. If you grow cassava on the same field year after year, leave your field clear for a month in between two crops.
4. Plant cassava when the rains start, as there are more mealybugs in the dry season.
5. Collect planting material from a part of your field that has vigorous and healthy cassava plants, free from mealybugs and diseases.
6. To make sure that your cassava cuttings have no mealybugs, dip them for 5 to 10 minutes in water mixed with an insecticide or with a plant extract that kills mealybugs.
7. Lacewings and wasps kill mealybugs. Protect them by not spraying insecticides.
8. If you find mealybugs in your field, collect the infested tips and destroy them.