Studies on the tolerance of pink hibiscus mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus (Green), to ionizing irradiation were undertaken to determine the dose needed to disinfest commodities of this pest. Overall, radiotolerance of M. hirsutus was found to increase with maturity. Target doses of 50 Gy reduced eclosion of eggs to <50%, but doses as great as 750 Gy did not eliminate hatching during the study. At 100 Gy, M. hirsutus eggs, crawlers, and nymphs were controlled, because progeny were not produced despite crawlers and nymphs living for much longer periods than unexposed individuals. Fecundity of treated crawlers and nymphs was greatly impacted by treatment of 100 Gy; crawlers developing into adults produced no eggs, and 10 adults of 3,983 treated nymphs (0.25%) produced 309 eggs. Few adult females exposed as nymphs deposited eggs because male nymphs died during development, which left the females unfertilized. By comparison, 89% of female nymphs treated at 100 Gy and mated as adults with nonirradiated males produced a total of 1,447 eggs (19 eggs per female). Evidence from this study suggests M. hirsutus reproduces sexually, not parthenogenetically. Adults, the most resistant stage, exposed to target doses of 100 Gy produced eggs that were 1.2% viable, from which a small portion of individuals successfully completed development and produced progeny. A target dose of 250 Gy was sufficient to control adult M. hirsutus because, at that dose, none of the eggs produced by 3,093 irradiated adults eclosed. The minimum dose needed to ensure quarantine security is between 100 and 250 Gy.
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Vol. 96 • No. 4