An invasive pest is threatening coconut groves throughout southern India

An invasive pest is threatening coconut groves across the Indian state of Kerala, The Hindu reports. The Rugose Spiralling Whitefly (RSW) was first found in India in 2016 and causes stress on the plants by sucking sap from coconut tree leaves. It also makes the plants more vulnerable to fungus. 

Since 2016 it has spread throughout the state, and is now turning into a serious threat to the local crop. The Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) is currently working to fight the pest using a natural predator of the fly.

“We noticed that more than 70% of whitefly colonies were parasitised by its natural predator Encarsia guadeloupae. In fact, RSW infestation has come down in some of the southern districts where the natural buildup of the parasitic wasp had occurred. We are now trying to multiply the predator species,” CPCRI Director P.Chowdappa told The Hindu.



Publication date: 11/30/2017


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