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Trapping the Mischievous Palm Weevil to Prevent Red Ring Disease in Your Coconut Grove

in Featured/Issue 31 by

In the last issue of the Belize Ag Report (issue # 29 pg 37) Forrest Tackitt wrote about Red Ring Disease in coconuts. The vector for this disease which affects coconut and African oil palms, with up to 80% mortality, is the palm weevil (Rynchophoruspalmarum). This large red snout beetle is native all the way from Mexico through South America and resides in some parts of the Caribbean as well. The nematode (Bursaphelenchus cocophilus) which is the direct cause of Red Ring Disease, is carried in the gut of this palm weevil. San Miguel learned a successful technique to trap this beetle vector from the staff of Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agricolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP) in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico. INIFAP is the research arm of Mexico’s Ministry of Agriculture (SAGARPA).

As shown in the pictures there are two types of traps. The larger is made from a 5 gallon bucket with a cover; the smaller trap is made from a one liter plastic coke container. The traps can be easily assembled by farmers and homeowners who have palms to protect. They have proved to be an effective means to reduce the beetle population at San Miguel, and we have noted a significant decrease in Red Ring disease since its introduction. The pheromones are a substance which lures insects, along with the fruit, into the trap. The brand that San Miguel uses is Cocolur Fermona: Prieto del cocotero. A pheromone substance can be purchased from Mr. Jose Manuel Rodas of Blackman Eddy Village, Cayo District: 650-6719, 664-0695.

IMG_20160115_135346Materials for the big trap:

  • One 5 gallon bucket with holes
  • cut in the cover the size of the plastic coke containers
  • 4 liter size plastic coke bottles, cut off per picture
  • 3 pineapple pieces, half inch
  • slices, chopped
  • 1 packet of pheromone (see below)
  • Tying wire for hanging

IMG_20160115_135047Materials for the smaller trap:

  • One liter plastic coke bottle with a hole cut into the upper side of it
  • Tying wire for hanging
  • 1⁄2 of a 1⁄2 inch slice of pineapple,
  • chopped and put inside
  • 1 packet of pheromone put inside

IMG_20160115_135446Traps should be placed in all cardinal points (N,S,E,W). Determine the size of the field and place 1 trap per acre at each point. For example, a 12 acre plot should have 3 traps on each side placed on the outskirts of the block.

Traps should be set out all year, although studies show that the highest adult population occurs in the dry season. Traps should be checked and emptied every 2 days, at which time the beetles should be killed individually.

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