The fight to control the hibiscus mealy bug
which has attacked sugarcane, coffee and cocoa crops
in many Latin' Carribean
countries, seems to he a losing one. Reportedly, the pest
has spread to other areas
causing more havoc. Methods
to contain the spread has
i@Lcliided the use of the
Chinese wasp and a ladybird
beetle. Describing the problem, Janice Reid, an entomologist at the Caribbean
Agricultural Research and
Development Institute, "The
number of these ladybird
beetles is still small because -
they were imported in small
numbers and have to be
Apart from Grenada, where the bug was first identified, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Jamaica are also infected. Entomologists believe that the pest could move on to Venezuela, Barbados and St Vincent.
The crop disease has affected agricultural trade to a large extent, as many countries have banned the import of food products from the affected areas. While the Cayman Islands has become the latest country to impose. the ban, the us department oIf agriculture is toying with the idea. Meanwhile, scientists and government officials in the region will meet shortly to discuss effective methods to eradicate the mealy bug.
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