Rhinoceros beetle Oryctes rhinoceros and Red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus are 2 serious pests which account for over 60 percent damage & death to trees if their population is not checked.
These are big , black & heavily scaled insects, with a horn on its head giving it a rhino like appearance. They have wings & can fly. The adults bore the spathe & fronds which are tender and unopened. After opening of the spathe, one can see clear geometric cuts which will result in wilting of the inflorescence. The adults lay their eggs in fresh decaying manures and the larvae look like large prawns. Also when the base of the coconut roots are congested with excess mulch, it provides good conditions for the adults to lay the eggs in. the population peaks from june till September end.
Red Palm Weevil
These are orange red in color but not as large as the rhino beetle. Here presence of holes on the crown, stem, bole region can be noticed often with the oozing of a viscous liquid. Normally when the crown region is infected, wilting of the spindle can be noticed & results in slow death of the plant. Serious problem affecting farmers in coastal belt.
pheromone lure with bucket
The pheromone bait is the most effective method in controlling the pests.
The principle is the same as mentioned in the previous post. Specialized buckets with 3 of 4 holes are made so that the pest can enter . the lure is suspended inside the bucket and water is added in the buckets. The bait buckets are placed at sites in the farm, where infestation is seen most.
after a week the water is checked for the catch & re filled to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
Photos and content by Pritham 'Heavy metal farmer' denzil dsouza