Suppression of Red Palm Weevil Menace – A success story from Bayar
Mr. Raheem C. H, a progressive farmer owns a well maintained mixed farming unit in the hilly terrain of Bayar in Kasaragod District. The farm encompasses 550 young-bearing coconut palms of 3-4 years age and 225 juvenile palms, intercropped with a wide array of fruit crops. Besides this composite cropping system, poultry and cattle rearing units are also maintained. During 2019, to his astonishment, about thirty five palms showed the symptoms of yellowing of middle whorl of leaves and a few palms toppled at the crown and died. Astounded by the incident, Mr. Raheem approached ICAR-CPCRI, Kasaragod, to investigate the cause and help him recover the crop. A team of scientist conducted diagnostic visit to the farm and identified that, this devastation was due to the attack of red palm weevil. When it was brought into the notice 29 palms had died by crown toppling, as most of the attacked palms were in the later stage of infestation. The dead palms were serving as breeding ground for the beetle and was causing havoc in the farm. But there were no setback, as CPCRI already had the package of practices for integrated pest management (IPM) in RPW. Burning the dead palms, curative and crown pouring with imidacloprid 17.8 SL @ 1 m L/L in live palms and prophylactic treatments were undertaken which suppressed RPW and 6 palms recovered. In 2020, prophylactic crown protection by sequential leaf axil placement of repellents at bimonthly intervals was adopted, which provided excellent crown protection and the field was absolutely free from RPW in 2020. However, the problem did not cease there. By the middle of 2021, 63 palms were found infested through the bole region. At the same time, there was no sign of crown entry of weevil, as it had already been protected due to the sequential application of repellents. At that point in time, timely curative trunk injection of imidacloprid at 1 ml/L and prophylactic basin drenching of chlorpyriphos at 5 ml/L were done, which in turn resulted in the recovery of 53 palms. Early detection and immediate adoption of curative treatment helped in high recovery during this time. In 2022, the crown entry of the pest was as much less as 4 and the bole entry was negligible which were completely cured by insecticide application.
Thus, detection of pest incidence at early stage coupled with implementation of IPM strategies continuously for four years could achieve absolute control over the pest in a rather pest-endemic zone. Based on the practical experience in managing RPW, refinements in the IPM were suggested to the farmers. Whenever RPW incidence was noticed, prophylactic leaf axil protection supplemented with protection of the bole region to be adopted. If not, infestation of RPW through the bole region is likely to occur. This can be accomplished by applying neem cake around the collar region. Mulching to be done in such a manner to view the bole region for effective monitoring of the entry of weevils. Successful management of RPW thorugh IPM interventions was achieved through a farmer-participatory approach. Mr. Raheem is very happy and convinced by our technology. He said “the laborers working in my farm were not having any skill for identifying RPW incidence. Proper guidance and trainings given by the scientists were quite beneficial in developing skill for early detection and diagnosis of this pest incidence. Besides, the demonstration of stem injection and crown pouring of insecticides were very helpful in practical learning of treatment imposition. Even though, my garden is totally free from RPW now, I am continuing prophylactic protection measures at quarterly interval as suggested by the scientists. Recently, I introduced bee colony also in my farm”. This success story inspired the neighborhood farmers group, which also made them follow the technology and attain healthy plantations in the region.