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PestNet is a network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests. It started in 1999. Anyone with an interest in plant protection is welcome to join. PestNet is free and is moderated, ensuring that messages are confined to plant protection.
May 2015. An article in a Philippines newspaper about the scale insect (called ‘cocolisap’ locally). A paper on this insect by Gillian Watson et al. is below.
Agency warns of return of ‘cocolisap’
COCONUT trees leaves gradually turn brown due to insect infestation in a farm in Batangas province. EDWIN BACASMAS / INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
SAN PEDRO CITY—The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) released thousands of natural predator insects to coconut farms in Laguna province as part of agency efforts to prevent a possible comeback of the coconut scale insects, locally referred to as “cocolisap.”
Although the pest population has dramatically decreased from what the government described as “of outbreak proportion,” authorities feared that the dry summer months would only upset an already improving situation.
“They (cocolisap) tend to be more active in reproduction during dry months. Although we saw a significant improvement, we could not be fully confident they are totally gone,” PCA Provincial Manager Jojo Alcantara said on Sunday.
The cocolisap (Aspidiotus rigidus) was first detected locally in 2009 in Batangas but scientists trace its origin to Sangi Island in Indonesia in the 1920s. It attacks coconut trees by feeding on the sap and causing the leaves to dry up and turn brown before withering away.
In 2014, the national government declared a cocolisap outbreak, affecting as many as 2.1 million coconut trees in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon provinces) and in parts of Mindanao.
Massive control protocols
The PCA, with a P400-million budget, launched massive “control protocols” that included leaf pruning, Neonicotinoid trunk injection, and the release of biocontrol agents or insects that feed on the cocolisap.
Some scientists and environmental groups, however, criticized the use of Neonicotinoid, a type of pesticide, saying it might cause harmful effects on the tree and the harvest.
“(Trunk injection) was done during an outbreak. If we had not done that, (the cocolisap) might have spread to other regions,” Alcantara said in a phone interview.
The PCA also attributed the decline in the pest population to Typhoon “Glenda” in July last year, which could have wiped out a significant number of cocolisap.
In Laguna, with about 8 million coconut trees, the PCA recorded about 500,000 initially infested, but the number was reduced to 146,000 as of March, Alcantara said.
Risks of outbreak
Of the remaining infested trees, about 52,000 trees have been pruned since March, with only two remaining areas—Bay and San Pablo City—considered “hot spots” or areas with risks of an outbreak.
“The (coconut) production really went down. Just imagine one tree produces an average of 45 nuts,” he said.
On Saturday, Francis Pangilinan, presidential assistant for food security and agricultural modernization, led an information caravan in Majayjay, one of the affected towns in Laguna. A similar caravan was held in Batangas last month and another will be held in Quezon.
About 1,000 biocontrol agents (consisting of five insect species —Chilocorus nigritus, Telsimia nitida, Telsimia sp., Pseudoscymnus anomalus and Cybocephalus sp.) cultured by the PCA were released in a 1-hectare farm in Barangay (village) Suba.
Laguna also plans to culture these biocontrol agents, according to provincial agriculturist Marlon Tobias.
Alcantara said the government had allotted 250,000 coconut tree seedlings for distribution to Laguna in the next six months.
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) on Wednesday said that its 60-day emergency containment measure against the aggressive “cocolisap” or coconut scale insect (CSI) infestation in the province of Basilan is now in full force and the rehabilitation program will follow immediately.
“Expressing his serious concern with this [cocolisap] problem, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco ordered the immediate containment of cocolisap infestation in Basilan,” Atty. Halmen A. Valdez, undersecretary for the Office of the Cabinet Assistance System, a unit tasked to supervise the PCA, said in a statement.
It will be recalled that PCA was folded into the Office of the President from the Department of Agriculture by virtue of Executive Order (EO)165-2014 issued by then President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
Conversely, pursuant to EO 1 issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, PCA has been placed under the direct supervision of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary.
Valdez noted that the 60-day emergency containment measure, which started on September 20 is now being undertaken to reverse the damaging effects of cocolisap in the province.
Basilan relies mainly on their coconut industry. and with an annual production of 163.2 million metric tons of copra, the province is one of the top coconut producers in the country.
The CSI incidence in Basilan increased rapidly from two million trees to three million trees on account of the prolonged drought in the province since 2014 until the early part of this year.
The CSI incidence in Basilan affected two million trees prior to El Nino in late 2015. This increased rapidly to three million trees due to the prolonged drought that has affected the province since 2014 until the early part of this year.
Valdez noted that in treating the affected coconut trees, the PCA will stick to the “integrated pest management” (IPM) protocol being the only duly approved protocol for cocolisap treatment by the Department of Science and Technology PCAARD, University of the Philippines, Los Banos and PCA Governing Board.
“The same protocol was used in Calabarzon [Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Quezon] in 2014. Its efficacy in treating the infected trees had been tested when it was used to treat some 1.3 million trees infected with cocolisap in the Calabarzon area. There were zero cocolisap hotspot municipalities in such area after using such protocol as of last ground inspection in 2015,” Valdez said.
“Thus, in an emergency situation like this, we cannot afford to experiment on other protocol,” she added.
About P104 million will be spent for the application of the IPM protocol, including labor requirement for trunk injection and leaf prunning for every 2.1 million affected trees, Valdez noted, adding that there is sufficient fund not only for the containment but also for the rehabilitation of the affected areas after the 60-day treatment. The insect pests are known to multiply rapidly during the dry season, Valdez said.
“During such period there can be no treatment of the infected trees since drought is the number one cause of CSI. Thus, the treatment right now [rainy season]is the best time,” she explained.
Basilan relies mainly on its coconut industry. Valdez assured the farmers, that after the emergency containment of cocolisap, the rehabilitation program for the affected province, cities and municipalities would follow immediately.
“It depends upon the extent of the damage of the CSI to a particular area affected, some recover after six months, while some take longer to fully recover. Pending this rehabilitation, we are closely partnering with the LGUs concerned and the Department of Agriculture to find alternative livelihood for our affected farmers” Valdez said.
With an annual production of 163.2 million metric tons of copra, Basilan is one of the top coconut producers in the country.