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Philippine Coconut Authority Fights Coconut Leaf Beetle

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Ligalig-Mike

Philippine Coconut Authority Fights Coconut Leaf Beetle
« on: December 15, 2007, 10:55:29 AM »
By Rey Anthony Chiu
PIA - Bohol

The Philippine Coconut Authority has found a natural ace in its sleeves in its fight against the feared coconut leaf beetle.

And the knight in shining black armor against the brontispa longissima is the earwig, the pest’s local natural predator.

The earwig, whose seemingly menacing form has caused a superstition that they can crawl into the ears of sleeping persons and bore into the brain, is characteristically identifiable due to their forceps, but these are practically harmless to man.

Earwigs belong to dermeptera family and vary in size from 1/2-1" in length, often brown to black in color. Species may be winged or wingless. Only a few species are good fliers. The body terminates in a pair of forceps. These forceps are used in capturing prey and mating, the encyclopedia defines.

Earwigs eat the larvae of the coconut leaf beetle, explains Allan Cajilog of the local Philippine Coconut Authority [PCA].

With the recent discovery by local PCA authorities, manager Timoteo Lago Jr. has ordered the culture of the earwigs at the local PCA office for further distribution to coconut farmers especially in affected towns.

The local coconut industry was rocked by the threat of the brontispa, which has been reported to have the capacity to wipe out the industry.

The Brontispa [coconut leaf beetle] is a slender beetle generally a centimeter long and feeds on soft tissues of the coconut fronds until the trees die, shows a PCA produced poster.

When under attack, a coconut’s young fronds appear damaged resulting from the pest’s feeding. The fronds appear brownish while the outer older fronds may still be green on early stage of attack.

According to records from the PCA, they have treated some 13,172 coconut trees in Baclayon, Alburquerque, Dauis and Panglao since September.

The present tow methods of treatment being used are the cut, burn and spray and the drill, pour and plug method, PCA authorities said.

The first method is used on non fruit bearing trees and entails wrapping the sword leaf with cellophane or paper, cutting it and burning it. Then the cut portion on the tree would be applied with insecticides.     

The second method is used for fruit bearing trees where holes about half an inch in diameter and six inches in depth are dug in its bole, a systemic insecticide injected in the holes and then the holes are plugged with a piece of wood to avoid the entry of other pests.


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