First report of mealybug, Formicococcus polysperes Williams infestation in ginger from Kerala, India.
During the survey conducted for the documentation of root mealybugs in black pepper from August 2013 to July 2014 in pepper gardens of Wayanad and Idukki districts of Kerala (India), ginger grown as mixed crop was found to be infested by the mealybug, Formicococcus polysperes. The colonies including both nymphs and adults were found to infest ginger rhizomes. Mealybug colonies suck sap from rhizomes, causing yellowing and eventually lead to drying up of the plant. It was found only on rhizomes and not on the aerial parts of the plant. This paper reports the infestation of the mealybug on ginger rhizomes for first time from South India. The infested plants were easily identified by the presence in the rhizosphere of ant colonies, which were associated with the pest symbiotically. The ant species was identified as Crematogaster rogenhoferi, which helps in the dispersal of the pest from infested plants to healthy plants.