Effectiveness of the exotic encyrtid parasitoid, Leptomastix dactylopii How. in the control of mealybug, Planococcus citri (Risso) in guava orchards.
The encyrtid Leptomastix dactylopii was introduced into India in 1983 for the control of Planococcus citri and the first release was made in 1984 in Bangalore, Karnataka. After controlling P. citri effectively in citrus orchards, L. dactylopii dispersed to nearby orchards, especially guava orchards which were severely infested with P. citri. The dispersal and establishment of L. dactylopii in these guava orchards had resulted in complete suppression of P. citri. The parasitoid could disperse over a distance of 5 km from the release site but was not recovered at a village located 35 km away from the site of release. Introduction of L. dactylopii into the guava orchards where it was absent also gave effective control of the pseudococcid. L. dactylopii was dominant and mainly responsible for the suppression of P. citri, the impact of the local natural enemies being negligible.