Sydney NSW, Australia
Identification request
2017-10-31T22:00:00.0000000Z
   1
Request for identification : Pest on coconuts - Fiji

Dear Collegues,

This coconut problem was observed from only two plants in a backyard farm of a farmer in the northern side of Fiji (dry zone area). Almost all the nuts are affected with this white powdery appearance. The powder has a sticky characteristic when touch. My suspect is an early stage of mite infection. Please id and provide management practices. A normal coconut is provided for comparison.

Thank you

Toloi Vasuidreketi
Ministry of Agriculture
Plant Protection Section
Nausori
Fiji

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Fiji
Coconut

Responses

   0
2017-11-12T14:00:00.0000000Z
Toloi  Please see fact sheet on Pestnet website, or just go to http://www.pestnet.org/fact_sheets/mini/coconut_false_scale_348.htm

This is called coconut false scale. A pretty severe insect without an adequate biological control 

 grahame

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Coconut
Pestnet_fact_sheets
Scale
   0
2017-11-12T14:00:00.0000000Z
Don't get too alarmed at this stage; there are other armoured scales that it could be, like Hemiberlesia palmae or H. lataniae. You need to get an authoritative identification done based on slide mounted adult females.

Gillian

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Fiji
Coconuts
Hemiberlesia_palmae
Hemiberlesia_lataniae
   0
2017-11-12T14:00:00.0000000Z
It is difficult to tell from the photograph, but am I correct in interpreting it as showing the nuts encrusted with armoured scale insects?

The obvious armoured scale to expect would be Aspidiotus destructor, which has been present in Fiji for  along time and is normally controlled by predators and parasitoids. Possibly something has reduced natural enemy populations, allowing the scales to proliferate?  Bear in mind that the parasitoids are highly susceptible to pesticides, so if there is heavy pesticide use this may have caused a scale outbreak. 

If that is the case, stopping pesticide use is the best way to allow the natural enemies to re-colonise the area. If it is absolutely necessary to control the scales quickly, horticultural oils are less toxic to the natural enemies than are other types of pesticide.

An alternative explanation could be that Aspidiotus rigidus (currently damaging coconuts in the Philippines) could have got introduced to Fiji accidentally. If that is the case the problem could become serious and widespread. I would recommend getting the insects identified by an expert. Unfortunately I cannot do this as I have no access to microscopes or slide-making facilities.

I hope that this is of some assistance.

Gillian Watson
Ex-California Department of Food & Agriculture

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Fiji
Aspidiotus_Rigidus
Armoured_scale_insects
Aspidiotus_destructor