So - I checked out what are the possible organic responses and found some good resources:
PAN Germany: Describes the uses of chili
Golden Harvest Organics: A list of insects and pests, and appropriate organic repellents
Canadian Country Woman: Describes various bug sprays
The Urban Gardener, and A Canadian in King Parakramabahu's Court recommend neem oil, which I haven't tried yet.
So - I decided to use chili, as we have a regularly producing organic chili plant, and garlic (from the market).
This was the harvest
chopped up with garlic - it smelt nice! :)
and put in a jar to steep in the sun (because I was too lazy to boil it, which would probably be more effective)
and then I strained it, and diluted with some water and biodegradable washing up liquid. I used an old surface cleaner spray bottle (WW's idea, instead of buying a new one) to spray it on.
One papaya was too far gone already,
so we pulled it up and burnt the top :( For the other ones, we first sprayed off the bugs with water, then sprayed on the repellent.
James Missier commented on a previous post that some ants can bring mealy bugs onto plants.
I don't know if these ants brought them, but they certainly were found wherever there were mealy bugs
I know that ants are perhaps the only other species, apart from humans, that have 'domesticated' other animals for their own purposes. And it's pretty fascinating. But not on my plants! Argh! :/
Anyway, I'm happy to say that after spraying every two-three days for about a week, there don't seem to be any more bugs (touching wood).