Sucking Bug Complex on Avocados (Avocado bug (Taylorilygus sp.) and the Coconut bug (Pseudotheraptus wayi)).

Sucking bugs is a broad term used to categorise insects with specialised piercing and sucking mouthparts. Sucking bugs cause significant damage and crop losses to avocado growers, often rendering fruit unmarketable, both locally and overseas.

In 2020, the European Union (EU) lowered the prescribed limit for certain active ingredients commonly used to control the sucking bug complex on avocados, making it difficult to include these in spray programs, especially close to harvest. Although these actives were still approved for use in South Africa, the detection of any residues on exported avocados would result in the entire consignment being rejected by EU retailers.

Based on an urgent request from SUBTROP (South
African Subtropical Growers’ Association) DALRRD (Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development) put out a call for an emergency registration of new products to offer/support avocado growers.

Avocado bug (Taylorilygus sp.)
Image credit: Insect pest scou�ng training –
Dr Elsje Joubert (SAAGA)

Damage on Avocadoes, caused by sucking bug.

Andermatt Madumbi is delighted to confirm that Eco-Bb®, a residue-free bioinsecticide, has been approved for use on avocados for the suppression of the sucking bug complex. Eco-Bb® is a proudly South African product; researched, developed, and manufactured by sister company Andermatt PHP located in the KZN Midlands. Eco-Bb® is a broad spectrum, contact bioinsecticide already successfully used in IPM (Integrated Pest Management) programs across a wide range of crops, nationwide.

‘The South African Avocado Growers’ Associaton (SAAGA) welcomes the label extension of Eco-Bb® for use on avocados against the sucking bug complex. Growers now have an additonal active ingredient to help manage and mitigate the damage caused by species in the sucking bug complex’. – James Mehl, Technical Specialist: Market Access and SAAGA Research Coordinator

A key complexity in the management of the sucking bug complex on avocados is the proximity of other host crops (i.e. macadamia, mango, litchi, and others) as well as host plants for these insects in the surrounding natural vegetation. Thus, there is a constant food source for these insects which may increase their prevalence. Protecting naturally occurring predators and parasitoids is invaluable, and implementing less harsh plant protection products in an IPM approach is critical for future sustainability on farms.