HOW  TO  CONTROL  LANZONES  PEST

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 26, 2007
 (STAR) Practical measures have been identified to contain infestation of scale insects in lanzones.

Scale insects particularly muscle scale (Lepidospahes ulmi) have damaged lanzones trees in Southwestern Mindanao. There were also reports of damages in Davao City particularly in Calinan, Toril, and Manambulan areas.

Renato Reloba, chief of the DA-Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC), said lanzones is one of the host plants of scale insects which has more than 100 species and some of these tend to overlap in a tree. In 2004, “snow scale” insects damaged trees in Banga and Tupi in South Cotabato and in Malungon and Maitum in Sarangani province.

“Scale insects suck the sap of the leaves causing it to defoliate. This impairs plant growth, loss of vigor, and underdevelopment of the fruits as it can no longer get nutrients from leaves,” Reloba said.

Since damaged tree cannot fully absorb nutrients, the quality of the fruit deteriorates leading to its sour taste.

Reloba said farmers must practice sanitation to reduce if not eliminate the damage of the pest. To minimize the spread of the insects, Reloba said farmers must cut and burn infested leaves and branches.

“Scale insects are crawlers and can be easily carried by winds causing the insects to transfer from one tree to the other resulting to wide spread infestation,” Reloba said.

Farmers can easily detect infestation as the leaves of the tree turn reddish and defoliates. If infestation is severe, Reloba said insecticide must be applied. He however warned farmers to judiciously apply insecticides as only those in the nymph or early stage would be affected by insecticide application.

Insecticides can no longer penetrate mature scale insects as they have developed an “armor-like” protection through its scales. Reloba advises farmers to practice pre-treatment particularly the application of banana oil before applying insecticides in matured scale insects.

During 2004 scale insects’ infestation in South Cotabato , entomologists from the Bureau of Plant Industry found an orange-colored (Cocconellid) beetle preying on the insect. This beetle had been identified as biological agent that can control pest population in the area. Authorities are now propagating the beetle in a laboratory in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat.

“Control of scale insects is a community effort and our farmers must be informed on practical measures. Once early signs are detected, farmers must practice sanitation to prevent the insect from spreading further,” Reloba said. – Noel T. Provido


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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