In answer to Sister Claffey’s plea for help to identify and cure the cause of a new disease affecting Prosopis (commonly known as iron tree) and Parkia (locust bean) in Benue State, Nigeria, I think I can help.
From the 1980s, plants in this area have been affected by mealy bugs which the local people call apollo. They attack cassava, citrus, okra, peppers and pineapple and other plants. They attack the young leaves and fruits. The leaves wither and die, eventually killing the plants. They are spread by wind. Insecticides can be sprayed on to control the mealy bugs – get local advice on which are effective and safe. Control would be easier if the trees were planted together in plantations.
Akaa Ijir, PO Box 491, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria.
Here are two ideas for controlling mealy bugs:
- Simmer 50gm of quassia wood chips in a litre of water for an hour. Then add a few tobacco leaves or cigarette butts and allow to stand for a day. Strain, add a little soap solution and 5 litres of water and spray.
- Collect cow’s urine. This can only be done if cows are kept overnight in a pen with a concrete floor sloping into a tank. Allow collected urine to stand for 2 weeks in the sun. (This solution can be strengthened by adding tobacco leaves (or cigarette butts) and neem leaves or fruits during this time). Dilute with 4 parts of water and spray.