Mealybugs are widespread throughout the sugarcane growing tracts of the world but seldom attain major pest status. According to an earlier estimate, 30 species are known to attack sugarcane in the world. Of these, Saccharicoccus sacchari, Rhizoecus epicopus, Pseudococcus saccharicola, Kiritshenkella sacchari and Antonina graminis enjoy wide distribution. Nymphs and adults suck the sap from leaves, nodes and internodes of canes. Severe infestation results in yellowing of leaves, stunting of canes and poor germination. Loss of sap may kill the young shoots or result in a marked setback in cane growth ultimately leading to total drying of the crop. Persistent residues of wax, honey dew and sooty mould indicate past colonization. Severe infestation reduces sucrose, brix, purity and available sugar content significantly. Dry conditions generally favour mealybugs but rainfall exerts a negative influence. Water stress conditions, small dry spells, neglected ratoons and repeated ratooning are known to enhance infestation.Varieties with loose clasping leaf-sheath harbour higher levels of mealybug populations than those with tight clasping leaf-sheath. Self-stripping varieties are less prone to mealybug infestation. Planting of uninfested setts, clean cultivation, removal of known alternative hosts near sugarcane fields and detrashing followed by spraying of insecticides reduce mealybug infestation. The predator Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, whose activity is often limited by associated ants, and the parasitoid Anagyrus saccharicola showed promise in different countries.


Natural Enemy Entomopathogenic Fungus Ratoon Crop Aspergillus Parasiticus Sugarcane Genotype 


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© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding InstituteCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Indian Institute of Sugarcane ResearchLucknowIndia

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