Developing sustainable pest management strategies against major pests of papaya in Hawaii

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2011: $148,174.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Leyla Kaufman
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: general tree fruits


  • Crop Production: cover crops
  • Pest Management: trap crops
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    Hawaii is the biggest papaya producing state in the country. Hawaii’s papaya supplies local markets, and it is also exported to the continental U.S., Japan and Canada. This export market is of major significance for Hawaii. Papaya farmers rely on extensive and routine pesticide applications to control a complex of pests. White peach scale, Pseudaulacaspis pentagona (Hemiptera: Diaspididae), papaya mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus (Hemiptera: Pseudociccidae) and various species of aphids such as Myzus persicae and Aphis gossypii (Hemiptera: Aphididae) are major established insect pests in papaya. Thrips parvispinus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) is an emerging pest in papaya in Hawaii. Although transgenic papaya varieties resistant to papaya ring spot virus are available, aphids are still important pests on non-GMO papaya. Papaya production is also affected by plant-parasitic nematodes. Root-knot (Meloidogyne spp.) and reniform (Rotylenchulus reniformis) nematodes are important pests in irrigated papaya fields. Thus, we propose to integrate organic pesticides with cover cropping as a sustainable papaya pest management strategy. Studies will be conducted at four commercial farms located in major papaya production areas in Hawaii over a two-year period. Throughout the project, a continuous commitment will be made to disseminate research findings and promote the exchange of information between farmers, agricultural consultants, extension agents and other members of the agricultural community in order to encourage the adoption of these sustainable pest management strategies.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Examine the effectiveness of organic pesticides kaolin clay, petroleum oil and their combination against papaya insect pests.

    2. Examine the benefits of sunn hemp living mulch as a trap crop for Thrips parvispinus.

    3. Demonstrate the benefits of strip-till sunn hemp living mulch for nematode and soil health management in a papaya orchard.

    4. Disseminate research findings to papaya growers and agricultural professionals.

    5. Conduct economical analysis of sustainable strategies to control papaya pests in Hawaii.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.