By JENNIE P. ARADO
is a biocontrol agent that bores holes through Aspidiotus rigidus’
(cocolisap) eggs on coconut leaves preventing its maturity and
eventually lessening the number of cocolisap that damages the coconut
of the first quarter of this year, the Philippine Coconut Authority
(PCA) has previously reported two million to three million coconut tree
losses nationwide due to cocolisap bugs infestation and unregulated tree
of this, they have come up with measures to help lessen, if not fully
eradicate, the cocolisap. In an interview with PCA member of the board
Roque Quimpan said they have developed and produced in massive quantity
Comperiella – a biocontrol agent that feeds on Aspidiotus rigidus, also
known as cocolisap.
said these are predators developed to control and contain the number of
cocolisap to create natural balance and to keep them from fully harming
the coconut trees. “Cocolisap will stay forever. What is good is that
we are able to produce in a massive scale the predator. What they
specifically kill are the cocolisap only – the Aspidiotus rigidus.
are really difficult to penetrate and to get rid of…Now there is a
parasitoid called Comperiella. We practically produced Comperiella. As
of now, the population could, in a certain period of time, somehow equal
to the population of cocolisap bugs,” Quimpan told Sunstar Davao.
shared how these Comperiella are small, black insect even smaller than
small ants. They bore through the cocolisap they can find and lay their
eggs inside preventing the cocolisap from developing into larvae and
eventually into adults. “If the cocolisap are fully eradicated, these
Comperiella will also be gone as well because they wouldn’t have
anything to feed on.
wouldn’t increase so much in number. Comperiella won’t eat or be a
parasite to the coconuts,” he said when asked if there would be a
possibility of uncontrolled production of Comperiella that may lead to
it being a parasite as well. He said assured that Comperiella only feeds
on cocolisap and will not be a future parasite to coconuts.
18 days of laying eggs on the previous cocolisap, Comperiella eggs will
hatch giving birth to these small creatures replacing the cocolisap. In
Zamboanga, where they PCA did their pilot projects of eradicating
cocolisap, the Zamboanga research center was converted into Comperiella
laboratories. “We established satellite laboratories and we practically
converted the cocolisap-infested areas into a production area of
Comperiella. We converted the whole of Zamboanga research center and all
those areas of cocolisap, we practically converted them into the
biggest laboratory of Comperiella.
there are cocolisap, Comperiella exists for the sole purpose of only
breaking down and killing the cocolisap. As the number of cocolisap
increases, the Comperiella also spreads faster than the rate we can
imagine,” Quimpan said. He added as the number of cocolisap fail to
reach maturity, Comperiella will disappear naturally as well given the
eventual loss of their primary prey as well.
had conducted programs to distribute Comperiella in different areas in
Mindanao infested by Comperiella wherein the farmers themselves put
these Comperiella in their trees. “Before, coconut farmers lose hope in
eradicating cocolisap but the benefits of Comperiella had been
PCA can’t really reach all the areas with coconut plantations. So what
the farmers did, they are the ones who come to us and tell us which
places have cocolisap, so we help them. We schedule our visit and the
release of Comperiella,” said Quimpan.
Aspidiotus rigidus or cocolisap was originally from rubber trees and
had only transferred to coconuts as its leaves are believed to be
“juicer” and “more delicious” for cocolisap, PCA said they also use Neem
Tonic – an organic pesticide to help kill these parasites.
tonic is noted to be effective, not just to coconuts but as well as to
other trees infested by cocolisap and other pests. Quimpan emphasized
that they used organic pesticide as they didn’t want to cause further
damages to the plants.