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Tea mosquito in guavas

Does anyone have a non-chemical control for tea mosquito. We have a major problem with them in guava, they attack the young fruits which then go black and are lost. We have tried different traps and some biological controls and have successfull trapped just about every other insect but not the tea mosquito.

Hi Eric,

I have never heard of this pest before, but I love doing insect management research, so I’ll share with you what I have learned!

The adults and nymphs of the tea mosquito bug feed on the sap from tender leaves, buds, and shoots of host species. There are lots of different host species for this pest including eggplant, Amaranthus sp., cashew, cocoa, neem, moringa, and guava. Adults also lay eggs into plant tissues (including young fruit). Nymphs emerge around 7-8 days and are brown and the life cycle of the pest is 22-25 days. In recent years, this pest has economically impacted guava production, reducing yield as well as fruit quality and marketability in India (Bose et al., 2020).

Monitoring for it’s presence early in the flowering season will be key for early intervention and mitigation of crop losses.

Cultural Control Techniques

  • Remove volunteer alternative hosts to reduce refuge places for the pest to go to.
  • Plant-available nutrients, particularly potassium, are important to allow plants to fight off this pest (Bose et al., 2020).

Mechanical Control Techniques

  • Prune heavily damaged areas (have black necrotic lesions on small fruits) with sterilized pruners and destroy removed material (feed to livestock, burn, or otherwise insure any eggs inside of the tissue are destroyed)
  • While scouting, collect nymps and adults using a beating sheet (or umbrella or any cloth). Put in soapy water to kill

Biological Control Techniques

  • Create habitats for native beneficial insects and don’t spray anything that would negatively impact them
  • Known predators include red ans, dragonflies, spiders, anthocorid bug, reduviid bug, green lacewing, and more (Bose et al., 2020).
  • Known parasitoids include Telenomus sp., Chaetostricha sp., and Erythmelus helopeltidis (Bose et al., 2020)
  • The fungus Beauveria bassiana is an endopathogen that infects both nymphs and adults. Application during the flush and flowering at concentration of 107 is recommended (Bose et al., 2020).
  • Spraying Aspergillus flavus has been shown to be effective at killing this pest as well (Bose et al., 2020).

I’ll skip chemical controls as you said you want to avoid those.

The only information I could find on using traps to monitor or control populations was with sex attraction pheromones using live females as the trap bait. Sundararaju and Sundara Babu (1999) found that in a period of six days, this trapping method caught 250 males containing 4 females in a moringa plantation. They also tried it in a cashew plantation with success in using it to detect pest presence.

Does anyone else have practical expereience dealing with this pest? Other insights? I don’t have any personal experience.

Bose A.S.C, I. Rabeena, and T. Sathyan. 2020. Tea Mosquito Bug (Helopeltis antonii Signoret) and its Management in Guava. Research Today 2(5) Spl.: 333-334.

Sundararaju D., and P.C. Sundara Babu. 1999. Trapping male tea mosquito bug, Helopeltis antonii Sign using virgin female. Pest Management in Horticultural Ecosystems, 5(2):


Hi Stacy

Thank you very much for your research and detailed reply. It’s very useful to know of other hosts, some of which we have. We may well have potssium deficiency so I will check that.

We can get Beauveria bassiana, I’m ordering some at the moemnt and will ask them the concentration. It includes other organisms and the recommended dosage is 100ml/16l. We’ve used it successfully against mealy bugs. Our guavas flower and fruit all the year round but the tea mosquito is much worse now during the rainy season than in the drier seasons. I see it is a fungus, so will have to keep the sprayer pressure down.

We’ve been leaving the damaged fruits on, in the hope they will continue to attack these instead of new fruits - obviously not a very bright idea. Interestingly infection is patchy, with some areas very bad and other unaffected, with no correlation to how thick the canopy is.

I will let you know the results of the Beauveria in due course.

Many thanks