New pest puts banana farmers on alert
By Express News Service | Published: 08th February 2017 01:31 AM |
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A new variety of pest is found to be plaguing coconut and banana in the state, the Agriculture Department warned farmers on Tuesday.
The Rugose Spiralling Whitefly (Aleurodicus rugioperculatus) deposits its eggs on the underside of the leaves of coconut and banana and damages the crop. The droppings of the fly also cause damage to the leaves, resulting in less productivity from the crop. The pest was identified by P Raghunath of the College of Agriculture, Vellayani. This species of whitefly is endemic to Florida.
He urged coconut and banana farmers to be vigilant and take comprehensive precautionary measures. Leaves on which the pest attack is severe should be cut and destroyed. However, agriculture officials warned farmers against using any form of chemicals even on nearby crops. A blend of soap solution with neem oil and garlic extraction should be sprayed on the underside of the leaves. If the pest attack continues, farmers should spray a diluted solution of the KAU product verticilium.
Growing tulsi, pudina as intercrops also will help destroy the pests, the department said.