Coconut hispine beetle, coconut leaf hispa Scientific Name Brontispa longissima Distribution Widespread. Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania. Hosts Coconuts are the most important crop attacked, but the beetles also infest betel nut, sago palm, oil palm, and a number of ornamental and wild palms. The adults Photo 1 and larvae graze the leaflets of the unopened spear leaf, forming narrow red-brown streaks parallel to the midrib. As the leaf unfolds, these streaks enlarge, forming irregular greyish blotches Photo 2 ; when severe, this gives the palm a scorched appearance Photo 3.

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Top of page Three wasp parasites of B. Two of these are egg parasites: the trichogrammatid Hispidophila brontispae; and the encyrtid Ooencyrtus pindarus.

One H. Parasitized larvae may die before pupation, but parasites still emerge. However, the level of parasitization by T. The life cycle of T. Two native wasp parasites are known in the Rabaul district of Papua New Guinea: the non-specific egg parasite, Trichogrammatoidea nana, and the eulophid larval parasite, Chrysonotomyia sp. A large percentage of Brontispa eggs are attacked by T.

Chrysonotomyia sp. A fungus which was found to affect larvae, pupae and adult Brontispa Maddison, may have been M. In Australia large numbers of torn, empty egg shells of Brontispa have been found in a nest of the ant, Tetramorium simillimum, but the significance of this ant in influencing numbers of the pest is unknown Fenner, The ant Pheidole megacephala attacks T.

The earwig Chelisoches morio has been reported as a predator of B. Impact Top of page Brontispa attacks palms of all ages, although it is most damaging to young palms in nurseries and for the first years after planting out in the field, especially in dry areas. Coconut plantations in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, which were in poor condition due to poor soil conditions, infestations by aleurodids and inadequate maintenance, were more susceptible to attack by B. Severe Brontispa attacks were reported in nearly all regions of south-east Sulawesi in The hispid sometimes occurred together with Aleurodicus, Oryctes and palm weevils, which together killed numerous palms, while other trees were in such poor condition that they did not produce fruit for many years.

The outbreaks continued until between and when the situation greatly improved due to the plants having older, fully developed, more resistant foliage. The effect of the severe infestations was felt for a number of years because growers ceased to maintain their plantations during the outbreak years Kalshoven, In North Sulawesi, the main damage caused by Brontispa occurs on young, year-old palms, which are not yet fruiting.

This infestation may supersede earlier attacks by Plesispa. Progressively smaller numbers of Brontispa are found in year-old trees. When year-old trees start to fruit, traces of previous infestation are still visible, but there is generally no further damage. It is thought that the heart leaves of older trees become firmer and gradually less suitable as a breeding place for the pest and are, therefore, no longer penetrated by the beetles. Palms grown in poor conditions, which have a less compact heart, are more susceptible to attack Kalshoven, Light attacks result in minor leaf injury, and a slight decrease in fruiting at the axils of the damaged leaves.

Fruit production is significantly reduced if eight or more leaves are destroyed. Under prolonged outbreak conditions, such as those which occurred in South Sulawesi for several years, fruit-shedding takes place, newly-formed leaves remain small, the trees appear ragged and may ultimately die. Outbreaks of Brontispa occur quite regularly in east Java, especially near Blitar, where about 55, trees were damaged in three districts during the dry season of Brontispa is also a regular pest in Besuka, especially north of Banjuwangi near Giri where the climate is rather dry.

Outbreaks have also been reported from Madura Kalshoven, Brontispa attacks in North Sulawesi were usually less severe than those in the south of the island. Damage was also reported from the Sangihe Islands, on Ceram, on the islands Banggai and Labolo of the Banggai group and on the Aru islands in association with Plesispa. Brontispa additionally occurred in Bali, but was of little significance. In , Adonaria Island, east of Flores, Indonesia, became a focus for Brontispa attacks, from which the pest migrated to Flores in later years causing particular damage to coconuts in valleys under humid conditions.

No trees died, but there was loss of yield. The outbreak ended in In extreme cases, damage can completely arrest the development of young palms and may even kill them Brown and Green, Only occasionally are mature palms attacked on a large enough scale in the Solomon Islands to cause serious damage. Detection and Inspection Top of page Young coconut palms should be inspected for eggs between or inside the tightly folded leaflets and early feeding damage of the larvae between and inside unopened leaflets, where browning and death of the surrounding tissues can be seen.

Prevention and Control Top of page Due to the variable regulations around de registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control.

Cultural Control A surgical method of control has been attempted in the Solomon Islands; this involved cutting out and destroying the central unopened frond which harbours the pest Brown and Green, This procedure must be conducted over a large area at one time to reduce re-infestation from neighbouring palms and must be repeated fairly often to be effective.

Palms which were years old could stand the loss of one leaf every 6 months, but younger palms could not as this caused too great a reduction in growth rate Tothill, However, this method is expensive and will not greatly affect the Brontispa population as a whole unless mature palms are also treated Tothill, Mechanical control of the pest by removing affected heart leaves is laborious and has very little effect Kalshoven, Chemical Control Chemicals used to control the pest must reach the insect in the narrow crevices between the leaflets and chemical treatment must be maintained throughout the year because B.

If beetles start breeding as soon as they reach the young palms, larvae will probably start appearing after about 1 week; if there has been any residual effect from insecticide treatment, or if the invasion rate is slow, it will be considerably longer before the larval population presents a serious risk Brown and Green, The application of chemicals at day intervals was more effective than 3-weekly applications.

Frequent applications of high volumes of spray, in excess of that required to provide satisfactory levels of control, caused slight phytotoxicity; growth and the production of new fronds was retarded. Satisfactory control can be achieved at low cost using a fine, low-volume spray applied from above to the central spike of each individual palm Brown and Green, Damage caused by Brontispa is considered serious enough for chemical control measures to be used on young palms.

The pesticide is applied to the central spike of the palm. Trichlorfon eliminated Brontispa from isolated areas of young palms in Western Samoa Bourke, Monthly spraying of young coconuts with permethrin is also advocated in Western Samoa Hollingsworth et al. In Australia, Jones and Elliot recommended spraying the unopened fronds thoroughly with carbaryl; repeated applications were necessary as new fronds emerged.

Insecticide resistance in B. Biological Control The history of biological control of this pest in Indonesia and the Pacific from to is reviewed by Waterhouse and Norris The prospects for control are also discussed. An outbreak of B. Field recoveries made the following year and a few years later, showed substantially reduced injury to coconut plantations by the beetle Franssen and Mo, Attempts to establish this parasite in east Java between and , and in central Java in , were unsuccessful Rao et al.

Mo provided one possible explanation for these failures and the variation in the effectiveness of the parasite in different areas; strains from east and central Java could only be propagated on the strain of B. In one strain, almost all of the parasite larvae died within days of hatching and the host also succumbed a few days later.

Phagocytic encapsulation and melanization were occasionally noted but neither was the primary cause of death. Early attempts to establish T. Later releases of T. Attempts have been made to use the green tree ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, in biocontrol of B.

However, Oecophylla does not alleviate the Brontispa problem in highly susceptible young palms because they usually do not colonize palms before they flower: the honeydew produced by scale insects and mealybugs, which colonize palms after flowering, is a powerful attractant Stapley, b. Mass releases of T. However, even a combination of this parasite, a fungal disease, and the earwig predator, Chelisoches morio, did not provide satisfactory control of the pest Cochereau, After four unsuccessful attempts to establish T.

In and , a strain of T. In areas of severe attack in , even year-old coconut palms were seriously damaged; all the central leaves were brown and there were no young fronds. By late , most of the trees had recovered substantially. Four coconut plantations in Western Samoa were sampled in for natural mortality factors Hollingsworth et al. The eulophid, Chrysonotomyia sp.

The pupal parasite, T. An entomogenous fungus, thought to be Metarhizium anisopliae, was found on adults in three plantations sampled. Chelisoches morio was common in infected coconut spears averaging 5. Asecodes sp. An extensive survey of damage to 37, trees showed that B. The benefit:cost ratio of this project was 3. A steady decline in damage was recorded in Western Samoa from An unidentified eulophid larval parasite, possibly A.

In , Brontispa larvae were found which were parasitized by another Chrysonotomyia sp. An additional, slightly larger eulophid larval parasite, with alternating black and white stripes on the abdomen, was discovered soon afterwards attacking Brontispa larvae. This parasite is less common than the Chrysonotomyia sp. The larval parasitoid, A.

A biological control programme for B. In , an undescribed heterocoptid mite from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands was introduced to, and became established in, Western Samoa. It is thought to be a predator and many individuals are capable of killing a newly moulted adult Brontispa Waterhouse and Norris, Brontispa can be controlled on young palms by spraying suspensions of M.

The fungus is capable of spreading rapidly during wet weather, killing more than half of the Brontispa larvae and adults present Waterhouse and Norris, Two field trials of microbial control of B. The pest could not be detected after three applications of M. There is merit in considering the introduction of suitable strains of this parasite from Java or from other countries where they are now established, where B. Experience in American Samoa, demonstrated that it is necessary to release substantial numbers of the parasite into suitable populations of Brontispa to ensure establishment.

The compatibility of strains of Tetrastichus should be evaluated before release, using a strain or strains of Brontispa collected from the country which is contemplating introduction Waterhouse and Norris,


Pesticide management of Brontispa longissima in coconut

Species are difficult to separate, and the genus is in need of revision. Seventeen species have been reported feeding on various palms Staines Brontispa gleadowi Weise is found in Mauritius. Brontispa limbata Waterhouse is found in Mauritius and Rodriquez. Brontispa linearis Spaeth is found in New Guinea. Hosts Brontispa chalybeipennis feeds on Cocos nucifera L.


Common Name

Citation: Varca, L. Pesticide management of Brontispa longissima in coconut. Abstract: The use of insecticides to manage Brontispa Longissima in coconuts was recommended by the Philippine Coconut Authority under emergency situation to check the spread of this damaging pest. Think injection of the insecticides was recommended as application through spraying of the insecticides would be hazardous to the applicator considering the height of the trees. However these insecticides are not registered for use in coconut and there are no pesticides residue studies conducted in the Philippines to address the safety concerns on consumption of products derived from coconut taken from insecticides treated trees. Neonicotenoids such as thiametoxara, imidachloprid and clothianidin applied to coconut trees by trunk injection were effective against Brontispa Longgissima larvae and adult at the application of the chemicals is needed to sustain control of the beetle.


Hispine Pests of Palms


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