Crop Protection





Root (Wilt) Disease
  • Etiology of root (wilt) disease of coconut was established as phytoplasma by electron microscopy, transmission through dodder, light microscopic staining techniques and molecular tools.
  • Molecular detection of phytoplasma associated with the root (wilt) disease of coconut was achieved by PCR using custom designed primers.
  • First reported the association of 16Sr XI group phytoplasma with coconut root (wilt) disease in India
  • A rapid and sensitive sero-diagnostic test (ELISA) was standardized for the early detection of root (wilt) disease.
  • Proutista moesta and Stephanitis typica were identified as the vectors and established their role in disease transmission.
  • Integrated disease management strategies were developed for heavily diseased tracts and mildly disease affected areas. An increase in yield of 25-83% depending on severity of disease can be obtained by adopting IDM

Root (Wilt) Disease affected Palm

Phytoplasma in sieve tubes of root (wilt) Disease affected Palms


Lace Bug ----Plant Hopper

(Stephanitis typica) --(Proutista moesta)

Leaf rot disease

  • Elucidated the etiology and symptomatology of leaf rot disease. Leaf rot is caused by fungal pathogens,mainly Colletotrichum gloeosporioides,  Exerohilum rostratum and Fusarium solani
  • Control measures were developed with fungicide (mancozeb/ hexaconazole) and biocontrol agents. Application of consortium of biocontrol agents (Pseudomonas fluorescens and Bacillus subtilis) along with phytosanitation was found to be effective in the management of leaf rot disease.

Leaf rot Disease affected Palm

Symptoms  of  leaf  rot Disease

Bud rot

  • Prophylactic treatment of pouring mancozeb solution (5g/300ml of water) coupled with placing of 2 mancozeb sachets (5 g/ sachet) in the inner most leaf axils was found to be effective in controlling the disease
  • A new eco-friendly method of prophylactic management of bud rot disease has been developed with phosphorus acid (Akomin) solution (0.5%) @ 300 ml/palm.
  • Developed integrated bud rot management strategy involving removal of disease advanced and dead palms, field and plant hygiene, treatment with fungicide, INM, control of other pests and diseases especially rhinoceros beetle infestation etc.

Bud rot affected Palm

Mancozeb Sachets

Stem bleeding

  • Root feeding with tridemorph and soil application of neem cake were found effective in managing stem bleeding disease of coconut.
  • Trichoderma virens, T. harzianum, T. viride and T. hamatum were found to be antagonistic to the stem bleeding pathogen Thielaviopsis paradoxa.

Bleeding Symptoms on the Stem
Fruit Rot and Immature Nut Fall
  • Lasiodiplodia theobromae was identified as the major causal organism of rotting and nut fall of eriophyid mite infested coconut.
  • Carbendazim or a combination product of carbendazim and mancozeb was found effective in controlling L. theobromae infection of coconuts.
  • If coconut is cultivated under organic farming system spraying of garlic bulb extract (10%) can be recommended for the management of fruit rot and immature nut fall in coconut.

Disease incidence in COD Variety

L. theobromae infection spreading to the kernel and causing extensive rotting

Yellow leaf disease

  • Etiology of yellow leaf disease (YLD) of arecanut was established as phytoplasma by electron microscopy and transmission studies with vectors.
  • Confirmed the phytoplasmal etiology of YLD through molecular characterization using custom designed primers.
  • Confirmed plant hopper Proutista moesta as vector of YLD
  • Standardized sero-diagnostic test for detection of  YLD
  • Management strategy is recommended in the initial stages of disease. Apply 220 g urea, 200g super phosphate and 230 g muriate of potash per palm / year in two split doses during pre and post monsoon period. In addition to the above, apply one kg of super phosphate in affected gardens. Apply organic manure @ 12 kg each of compost and green leaves per palm per year. Avoid water stagnation by providing drainage facility. Control other pests and diseases.

Foliar Symptoms of YLD

Phytophthora diseases

  • Phytophthora meadii was found to be the causative agent of fruit rot and bud rot diseases of arecanut.
  • Developed a linear model based on multiple regression analysis to predict the fruit rot incidence four days in advance
  • Covering bunches with poly bags prior to monsoon  was incorporated  as a component in IDM of mahali
  • Developed crown rot management strategy using  0.3% phosphorous acid

Fruit Rot caused by P.meadii

Bud rot Disease


Inflorescence dieback and Button shedding

  • Elucidated disease cycle of arecanut inflorescence dieback
  • Developed IDM for  inflorescence dieback
  • Remove the fully affected inflorescence and destroy them by burning to prevent the spread and severity of the disease.

Inflorescence Dieback

Anabe or Foot Rot

  • Established the association of Ganoderma applanatum with the disease incidence
  • Developed IDM practices for foot rot of arecanut

Anabe or Foot Rot


Phytophthora diseases

  • Phytophthora palmivora (A2 mating type) was found to be the predominant species causing black pod and stem canker diseases in India
  • Rare incidence of black pod disease caused by P. capsici and P. citrophthora has been reported from Kerala state
  • Cocoa accession C78 was found to be less susceptible to black pod disease caused by P. palmivora
  • Developed IDM for black pod and canker
  • A technique has been recently developed to control stem canker using the biocontrol agent, Trichoderma harzianum


Black Pod  Disease caused by P.palmivora


External Lesion -----Internal Lesion

Stem Canker

Cherelle rot

  • Elucidated the symptomatology, etiology and seasonal cycle of cherelle rot of cocoa in India caused by Colletotrichum gleosporioides
  • Developed IDM for Colletotrichum pod rot

Cherelle rot

Utilization of Plantation crop Wastes
Developed low cost techniques for mass multiplication of bio-control agents utilizing plantation crop wastes like coconut water and cocoa sweating. Diluted cocoa sweating was found to be superior to conventional liquid media


T. harzianum multiplied in Cocoa Sweating

Developed a simple and highly economical low cost technology for farm level mass production of biocontrol agents using diluted cocoa sweating, bean shell and pod husk

T. harzianum multiplied in unsterilized Cocoa bean shell moistened with Cocoa Sweating

A very promising mycological culture medium was developed using cocoa bean shell, an industrial waste.

Developed technologies for production  of oyster mushroom utilizing arecanut wastes

Oyster mushroom grown on Areca Leaf
Developed technologies for production of coir pith formulation of Trichoderma (Trichoderma coir pith cake)

Trichoderma Coir Pith Cake
Pesticide slow release product was developed using coir pith

Coir Pith based Pesticide slow release Product



Rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros)

Metarhizium anisopliae var. major was identified as a potential pathogen on Oryctes grubs. The mass production of the fungus on solid substrates viz., cassava chips, rice bran mixture supplemented with nitrogen source and  partially cooked rice media  have been developed at CPCRI.

The fungal spores are to be applied @ of 5 x 1011 spores / m3 on the breeding pits in which the beetles breed.

The mode of infection of Oryctes Nudi virus (OrNV) on rhinoceros beetle grubs has been established. Mass production of the virus is done by rearing the grubs on virus inoculated food such as sterilized cow dung, saw dust, coir pith etc. or by mouth feeding the healthy grubs with viral suspension and rearing them on sterilized food materials. Release of 12-15 infected beetles per hectare was recommended to disseminate the virus in nature.

Shade dried leaf powder of the common weed plant Clerodendron infortunatum proved its insecticidal property against Oryctes rhinoceros at 10% w/w. Incorporation of the whole plant in the breeding sites of rhinoceros beetle proved to be effective in checking the build up of the pest in the breeding sites.

Application of naphthalene balls @ 10-12 g/ palm or leaf axil filling of powdered marotti cake (Hydnocarpus) @250g/palm+ fine sand 250 g or leaf axil filling with  chlorantraniliprole (0.4WG) / chloridust @5g mixed with 250g of sand during April-May, and September -October proved to be effective as a prophylactic control measure for rhinoceros beetle and red weevil.

A modified PVC trap was developed to be used with pheromone  to attract the rhinoceros beetle adults.

Rhinoceros Beetle Damage with Biostages

M. anisopliae infected Grubs

Oryctes virus infected Grubs

Red Palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus)

Developed IPM package for red palm weevil that includes cleaning of palm crown periodically to avoid decaying of organic debris, proper cutting, splitting and burning of red palm weevil infested palms, treating of any wounds on the palm with coal tar and stem injection with spinosad 0.013%.

Prophylactic leaf axil filling with  250 g marotti oil cake (Hydnocarpus sp.) + 200 g of fine sand in leaf axils around spindle during May, September and December  has been found to be effective.

A red palm weevil lure ferrugineol was formulated at CPCRI. Unlike the sachets used in commercial lure the CPCRI lure was made of glass capillary of 6 cm in length and id. of 1.5 mm. Each glass capillary had 100 µl ie 78.5 mg of ferrugineol with the density of 0.76g/cc. CPCRI lure was cost effective as compared to the imported lures.

The role of kairomones of red palm weevil were identified and tested under laboratory conditions. Pheromone lure when placed in isolation did not yield desirable results; hence they had to be associated with food baits. Among the various phagostimulants that were evaluated to be used in tandem with pheromone lure, it was observed that macerated plantain (200gm) or sugarcane bits attracted more weevils (an average of 8 weevils/trap/week), whilst the pheromone trap without food bait had a lowest weevil catch of 1 weevil/trap / week. Volatiles emanating from food baits are identified. Slow delivery mechanism of pheromone have been developed

Affected Palm

Adult (Weevil)--------Pheromone

Red Palm weevil

Leaf eating caterpillar (Opisina arenosella)

Techniques were evolved at CPCRI for mass multiplication of the promising parasitoids namely Goniozus nephantidis, Bracon brevicornis, Elasmus nephantidis and Brachymeria nosatoi which are being currently recommended for biocontrol of Opisina

Release rate of the parasitoids have been fixed. G. nephantidis, E. nephantidis and B. nosatoi are to be released at fixed norms of 20.5, 49.4 and 31.9% of larval, prepupal and pupal stage of the pest respectively. In a multistage condition of the pest, a combined release of all the parasitoids @40% of each of the target pest stage is required. Mass production technique for Apanteles taragamae on early instar caterpillars of O. arenosella was evolved.

Olfactory conditioning in bethylid, Goniozus nephantidis an ectoparasitoid of coconut black headed caterpillar Opisina arenosella resulted in increased host searching ability of the parasitoid released in the field.



Larvae of Opisina arenosella

Adult of Goniozus nephantidis

Eriophyid mite (Aceria guerreronis)

In the year 1998 CPCRI first identified and reported the occurrence of the coconut infesting eriophyid mite, Aceria guerreronis. This report was the first for the whole of Asia. Palms receiving root feeding of 10 ml Neemazal + 10 ml water and palms base drenched with 10 ml Neemazal along with soil application of Neemcake showed the highest percentage reduction in the eriophyid mite infestation.

The acaropathogenic fungus Hirsutella thompsonii has been identified as potential bioagent against the eriophyid mite Aceria guerreronis. Talc based formulations of two isolates CPCRI -19 and CPCRI 51 (11) are virulent. Two rounds spraying  of the fungal formulation caused a reduction to a tune of 44 – 73 %.

Developed management strategies for eriophyid mite using botanochemicals. Spraying neem formulation containing 1% azadirachtin @ 4 ml/ l of water or 2% neem oil, garlic emulsion on button  during April-May, Oct.-Nov. and Dec.-Jan., in such a way that all mite infested palms in an area should be covered at the shortest possible interval.

Eriophyid mite

White grub (Leucopholis coneophora)

Developed IPM technology that includes deep ploughing and digging of soil during pre- and post-monsoon period, collection and destruction of adult beetles during peak emergence period in May-June. 

Mechanical capturing and destruction of  beetles during peak emergence period.

Coconut root Grub

Coreid bug (Paradasynus rostratus)

Spraying of 0.5% neam oil to the button.

Coreid bug Damaged nut

Rodents(arboreal black rat Rattus rattus wroughtoni, burrowing rodents  Bandicota bengalensis, B. indica, Gerbils  Tatera indica)

Placing of single dose anticoagulant bromodiolone (0.005%)  10 g blocks twice at an interval of 12 days on the palm crown of one tree out of every 5 trees was found effective against arboreal black rat.


Termites (Odontotermes obesus)

Drenching the nursery with 0.05 % chlorpyriphos twice at 20-25 days internal or swabbing the affected portion of the trunk in adult palms with 0.05 % chlorpyriphos solution was found  effective.


White grub (Leucopholis lepidophora Blanch)

Basin application of neem cake @2kg/palm/year during June to July for re-generation of affected roots.

Two round applications of insecticide is recommended viz., spraying of chlorpyriphos @ 2kg ai/ha or bifenthrin @ 2 kg ai/ha during August second week. Root zone application of chlorpyrifos 20 EC @ 7ml/palm during the  last week of September.

Repeating ploughing the field(5-6 times) from(Aug-Dec) to expose the grubs to predator.

Mechanical capturing and destruction of beetle during peak emergence period.

Root Grubs of Arecanut

Spindle  bug of arecanut (Carvalhoia arecae)

Sucking of plant sap by the nymphs and adults of spindle bug result in typical linear, dark brown lesions which turn necrotic on the spindle.  Damaged open leaves dry up and drop off. Severely affected spindle leaves fail to unfurl completely. Infestation in young exposed plantations results in severe manifestation of symptoms during summer months.

Spray spindle leaf and inner most leaves of palms in infested plantations with dimethoate (0.06%) 30 EC 2 ml/ lit of water.

Spindle Bug

Red and White Mites (Raoiella indica and Oligonychus indicus)

Spraying dimethoate (0.06%) 30EC @ 2 ml/litre of water to the lower surface of leaves was effective in reducing the pest incidence.

Damage caused by mite

Immature fruit drop

Feeding by Halyomorpha marmorea was identified as a cause for immature fruit drop with shrinking and browning of kernels.

An egg parasitoid of the pentatomid bug, Halyomorpha marmorea which causes immature fruit drop in areca palm is identified as  Anastatus bangalorensis (Hymenoptera:  Eupelmidae).

Spraying dimethaote (0.06%) 30EC 2ml/litre of water to the tender bunches of the affected palms and surrounding few palms.

Adults of Halyomorpha

Kernal browning due to damage by Halyomorpha

Scale Insect

Spraying dimethaote (0.06%) 30EC 2ml/litre of water to the tender bunches was found to be effective in containing scale insects.

Cowpea, bhendi, bitter gourd, chillies etc, were identified as alternate host for this pest.

Lady bird beetle, Chilocorus nigrita was identified as an effective predator against the scale insects.


Arecanut infested by Scales


Tea mosquito bug

The damage symptoms like necrosis and dieback of shoots, bark roughening, destruction of flowers and cherelles were identified as symptoms due to  damage.

In cherelles, feeding punctures cause distortion during growth.

Yield reduction was reported up to 30 to 40 %.


Adults of tea musquito Bug

Damage caused by Feeding


Placing 10g Bromodiolone (0.005%) wax cakes on the branches of cocoa trees twice at an interval of 10-12 days will check the rat damage was found as an effective technique to manage the rodents

Squirrels gnaw the pods in the center and damage only the mature ones. They   feed on the mucilage covering of the beans.   Trapping with wooden or wire mesh single catch ‘live’ trap with ripe coconut kernel as the bait is effective.  Timely harvest of the pods will help in increasing the efficiency of poison baiting as well as trapping.


ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute
Kasaragod,Kerala, 671124

Last Updated on : 21 / January / 2020


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Time: 2020-10-20 20:44:45


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