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A. Pest B. Diseases
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A. Pests

The major insect pests of the coconut palm are the rhinoceros beetle, the red palm weevil, the black headed caterpillar, the cockchafer beetle and the coreid bug. Adopt suitable remedial measures as and when required. The following table gives the major symptoms and control measures.







Rhinoceros Beetle

Red Palm Weevil

Black headed caterpillar

Coreid bug








Mealy bugs and Scale insects


White grub

Eriophid Mite of Coconut

Slug Caterpillar






I. Rhinoceros Beetle

Symptoms - Rhinoceros Beetle


The adult beetle bores into the unopened fronds and spathes.

Attacked fronds when fully opened show characteristic geometric cuts


Control measures 

Hook out the beetle from the attacked palms using beetle hook. 
As a prophylactic measure, fill up the top most three leaf axils with Sevidol 8G(25g) + fine sand (200g) thrice in April, September and December.


Place 10.5g naphthalene balls in the leaf axils and cover it with fine sand. 
To be practiced once in 45 days. 
Spraying 0.01% Carbaryl (50WP) in the breeding sites of the beetle help destroy the larva. 
Biological control using the virus Baculovirus oryctus (release 10 - 15 virus infected beetles in 1 ha) 

Rhinoceros Beetle


green muscardine fungus, Metarrizhium anisopliae (spray 250ml Metarrizhium culture + 750ml water in manure pits and other breeding sites of the beetle) 
Practice clean cultivation.


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II. Red Palm Weevil

Symptoms - Red Palm WeevilSymptoms 

Presence of holes on the stem, oozing out of viscous brown fluid and extrusion of chewed up fibres through the hole. 

Some times the gnawing sound produced by the feeding grubs will be audible. 

In the advanced stage of infestation yellowing of the inner whorl of leaves occur.

The crown falls down or dry up later when palm is dead.


Red Palm WeevilControl measures 

Practice clean cultivation by cutting and removing palms already damaged and the decaying stumps in the garden. Such palms should be split open and the different stages of pest inside burned off. 

Avoid injury to the trunk as the pest lay eggs in these wounds. Wounds if any, should be pasted with a mixture of carbaryl / Thiodan and soil. While cutting leaves, retain at least 1m of petiole. 

Use pheromone trap for attracting weevils and kill the collected ones. 
If rhinoceros beetle attack is prevalent, follow the recommended measures. 
Use fungicides if leafrot / bud rot is noticed as the weevil lays eggs in such palms.
Inject attacked palms with  1% Carbaryl (20gm/litre). Plug the holes in damaged region and pour the insecticide suspension into a slanting hole made above the damaged portion using a funnel. Then plug this hole also. If needed repeat after one week.
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III. Black headed Caterpillar

Symptoms - Black headed CaterpillarSymptoms 

Severity of attack is seen during January to May. The caterpillar feeds on green matter from lower leaf surface, remaining within silk and frass gallaries. In severe attack all the green matter of the leaves will be eaten up.



Control measures 

Bioligical control is very effective against this pest through release of parasitoids like Gorriozus nephantidis, Elasmus nephantidis and Brachimeria nosatoi.
In case of severe attack, remove the affected leaves and destroy by burning. Then spray the under surface of leaves with 0.02% Dichlorvos (Dichlorvos 100EC).
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IV. Coreid Bug


The attacked buttons do not develop resulting in immature nut fall. The nuts if developed may become barren.


Control Measures 

Pesticide application is necessary if infection is severe. Spraying has to be done 3 times a year.
Apply 0.1% Carbaryl on the inflorescence after the receptive phase of the female flowers. Destruction of pollinating insects can be avoided if spraying is done in afternoon hours. 
Tying perforated polybags (2 bags/palm) containing 2.5g phorate on to the stalk of inflorescence is also effective
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V. Rats


Attack tender nuts resulting in immature nut fall.


Control measures 

Entry of rats on to the trunk can be prevented by fixing mechanical barriers upto 2m height from ground level using 40cm sized G.I. sheets.
Use rat traps.
Poison baiting with zinc phosphide or warfarin.
Fumigate the hiding places using Aluminium phosphide tablets.
Place wax blocks containing the poison Bromodioline @ 30 blocks per ha (each weighing 10g) on 5 palms. Repeat after 12 days. Practice this two times for reducing rat population
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