Eriophyes guerreronis is a serious pest of coconuts in the Central and South America and the Caribbean. The pest attacks newly fertilized flowers and move under bracts surrounding nutlets. During early attack, the infested nuts show browning at the outer margins of the bracts. It gradually spreads and sometimes covers 2/3 of the nut surface. Heavily infested nuts are deformed, smaller in size with reduced kernel yield. In some areas, the losses may reach up to 50%. In St. Vincent, the pest is widely distributed in the island. Nuts on the first two bunches do not show external damage, but it increases progressively from bunch No. 3 onwards. It was also observed that nutlets on bunch No. 1 were always free of mites. A small number was observed on bunch No. 2, and from Nos. 3 to 7, the population increased rapidly. On older bunches, the number of mites was relatively lower, and this was due to the hard surface of nuts, which becomes unsuitable for pest feeding. Some coconut varieties are more susceptible to mite damage than others. In St. Vincent, on average 44% uuts of Jamaican Tall and 35% of Malayan Dwarf were damaged by the pest, showing that the former variety is more susceptible to mite damage. These observations are supported by other workers in Benin (Mariau, 1977) and In Togo, Sao Tome, Ivory Coast and Brazil (Mariau and Julia, 1979); who reported that Tall West African, the Yellow and Yellowgreen Malayan dwarf were more susceptible than Tall Malayan, Hybrid PB 121, Tall Tahitian and Red Cameroun dwarf. In this study, three species of parasitic fungi, Aspergillus sp., Mucor sp. and Trichophyton sp. were recorded attacking mites under bracts. In St. Lucia, in May 1984, the author recorded two species of Coccinellids (Stethorus sp. ?utiiis and Sukunahikona sp.) and a predatory thrips, Aleurodothrips fasciapennis. It is possible that further investigations in these and other Caribbean islands may provide additional natural enemies, some of which could be used for the control of coconut mite(s).

Issue Date:
Aug 15 1988
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
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