The Q&A Archives: Insecticide for Papaya Tree

Question: I bought a papaya plant from you last year and it is beautiful but some type of insect is eating the fruit before it matures. I removed a cotton- like coocoon on an upper level leaf and it appeared to have small insects within. What type of insecticide spray or non-insecticide treatment can I use to keep the papya eating insects at bay?? Thank you!!

Answer: Two pests have become sufficiently troublesome in south Florida to require attention. One, the papaya fruit-fly (Toxo-trypana curvicauda Gerst.) threatened at one time to become serious. This insect occurs in several parts of tropical America. The female inserts her eggs into the immature papaya by means of a long ovipositor, and the larvae first feed in the central seed-mass, but later work into the flesh of the fruit, frequently rendering it unfit for human consumption. The only means of control which have been suggested are the destruction of wild plants and infested fruits, and the production of varieties having very thick flesh, so that the ovipositor will not reach to the seed-cavity (the young larvae are unable to live in the flesh). A fungous disease known as papaya leaf-spot (Pucci-niopsis caricoe Earle) frequently attacks the foliage in the winter season, forming small black masses on the under-surfaces of the leaves. It is not very destructive and is easily controlled by spraying with bordeaux mixture.

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