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Abstract

The pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) is the second most important leguminous crop for the Dominicans. Fresh or canned seeds are also exported, i.e., to Puerto Rico and the U.S.A. The crop with very low input requirements is produced in marginal areas and serves as an important source of protein for the peasant farmers. The pigeon pea pod fly (.Melanagromyza ob tus a Malloch) has been a pest in Asian countries for decades and was first reported in the western hemisphere in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the year 2000 (NPAG 2000; Kauffman 2001; Abud et al., 2002). Alerted by local farmers, between 2002 and 2003 two separate research teams, based at San Juan de la Maguana and San Francisco de Macoris, carried out a survey. The study consisted in the determination of the dispersal of the recently introduced pest, the damage levels and the presence and effectiveness of antagonists of the pest. Pods were collected from plants in more than 20 localities belonging to 5 provinces of the major pigeon pea producing regions in the southwest and south, as well as of more than 20 localities of 8 provinces in the central and north-eastern regions, being present at >95% of the surveyed sites. The infested pods showing small "windows" ranged between 30 to 80% and the damaged seeds between 10 and 80%. From the pods held in paper bags conected to glass tubes, no single parasitoid emerged. The mass release of introduced parasitoids is discussed, trying to reduce the damage by at least 50% and backing biocontrol applying 1PM measures.

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