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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

grey sugarcane mealybug (Saccharicoccus sacchari)

Host plants / species affected
Ananas comosus (pineapple)
Cortaderia selloana (pampas grass)
Holcus (softgrasses)
Imperata cylindrica (cogon grass)
Miscanthus japonicus
Oryza sativa (rice)
Phragmites australis (common reed)
Poaceae (grasses)
Saccharum edule
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)
Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)
List of symptoms/signs
Leaves  -  abnormal colours
Leaves  -  honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves  -  honeydew or sooty mould
Roots  -  external feeding
Stems  -  external feeding
Symptoms
High populations of S. sacchari are associated with poor growth and yellowing of the stem and leaves. Copious honeydew often attracts ants. High populations and thus high levels of honeydew can also give rise to sooty mould production.

Prevention and control

Introduction

S. sacchari usually causes insufficient direct damage to necessitate control measures. However, control may be important because of the mealybug's association with sugar quality and for virus control.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:


Impact
S. sacchari rarely causes yield loss in sugarcane, but high populations can weaken sugarcane plants and symptoms such as stunting and yellowing, death of young shoots and impaired growth are recorded (Dick, 1969). Field studies in Uttar Pradesh (Atiqui and Murad, 1992) indicated that infestation of the cultivar Co1148 decreased the sucrose and sugar content of sugarcane and its purity (average losses in brix, pol, purity and available sugar content of 10.64, 16.44, 6.14 and 12.92%, respectively). However, the volume of cane juice was not affected significantly.

High populations can produce large amounts of honeydew and sooty mould growing on this excreta will disfigure crops. S. sacchari is associated with filtration and clarification problems, lower quality of the syrup and reduced crystallization (Hall, 1922; Dymond, 1929; Dick, 1969). These effects are probably related to the production of honeydew and associated polysaccharides and gums and/or the close association with S. sacchari of acetic-acid-producing bacteria (Ashbolt and Inkerman, 1990).

S. sacchari is a vector of sugarcane mosaic potyvirus (SCMV) (Lockhart et al., 1992).

Related treatment support
 
External factsheets
TNAU Agritech Portal Crop Protection Factsheets, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, English language
TNAU Agritech Portal Crop Protection Factsheets, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Tamil language
Biovision Factsheets, Biovision Foundation, 2012, English language
BSES Factsheets, BSES Limited, English language
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