Deputy Director of Public Instruction Walter D'Mello said that the vision 95+ pr

Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) has issued red alert against three invasive pests destroying coconut trees.

CPCRI Director P Chowdappa, in a statement, said the pest caused tremendous yield loss in neighbouring countries including Maldives, Union of Myanmar, Indonesia. The pests are ‘Brontispa longissima,’ ‘Aspidiotus rigidus’ and ‘Wallacea sp.’

“Any invasive pest entering a new habitat (introduced country) would be catastrophic as it breeds prolifically in a shorter period of time in the absence of its natural enemies,” he said.
There should be strict quarantine procedures in place in all airports and seaports to check any accidental introduction of them through baggage.

They might spread through the trans-boundary movement of ornamental palms. ‘B longissima’ has already caused severe economic setbacks in Maldives and other adjoining countries. With increasing navigation network and quarantine focusing mainly on bullion snatches, entry of invasive pests like ‘B longissima’ through several ports is imminent. So far, this pest has not been reported from India, the release added.

Intensive surveys conducted by ICAR-CPCRI at South and Andaman have revealed the occurrence of a new ‘chrysomelid beetle,’ ‘Wallacea sp’ feeding on the coconut seedlings in nursery.

Though 80-90 per cent of seedlings were infested by the pest damaging 40 per cent leaf area, seedling mortality was not observed. ‘Wallacea sp’ could not be located from adult palms, but prevalent in abandoned, unattended and old nurseries. 

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