Horticulture :: Plantation Crops :: Coconut - Pest management  

Pest management  

Pests Management strategies

Rhinoceros beetle
Oryctes rhinoceros


  • Remove and burn all dead coconut trees in the garden (which are likely to serve as breeding ground) to maintain good sanitation.
  • Collect and destroy the various bio-stages of the beetle from the manure pits (breeding ground of the pest) whenever manure is lifted from the pits.
  • Incorporate the entomopathogen i.e, fungus (Metarrhizium anisopliae) in manure pits to check the perpetuation of the pest.
  • Soak castor cake at 1 kg in 5 l of water in small mud pots and keep them in the coconut gardens to attract and kill the adults.
  • Treat the longitudinally split tender coconut stem and green petiole of fronds with fresh toddy and keep them in the garden to attract and trap the beetles.
  • Examine the crowns of tree at every harvest and hook out and kill the adults.
  • For seedlings, apply 3 naphthalene balls/palm weighing 3.5 g each at the base of inter space in leaf sheath in the 3 inner most leaves of the crown once in 45 days.
  • Set up light traps following the first rains in summer and monsoon period to attract and kill the adult beetles.
  • Field release of Baculovirus inoculated adult rhinoceros beetle @ 15/ha reduces the leaf and crown damage caused by this beetle.
  • Apply mixture of either neem seed powder + sand (1:2) @150 g/palm or neem seed kernel powder + sand (1:2) @150 g per palm in the base of the 3 inner most leaves in the crown
  • Set up Rhinolure pheromone trap @ 1/ 2 ha to trap and kill the beetles.   
Black headed caterpillar
Opisina arenosella
  • The incidence of the pest is noticed from the month of November to May and from August to November after rainfall. The coconut trees of all ages are attacked.
  • Release the larval (Bethylid, Braconid and Ichneumonid) and pupal (Eulophid) parasitoids and predators periodically from January, to check the build up of the pest during summer.
  • Among the larval parasitoids, the bethylid Goniozus nephantidis is the most effective in controlling the pest. The optimum level of release is 1:8 of host-parasitoid ratio. The parasitoid should be released @3000/ha under the coconut trees when the pest is in the 2nd or 3rd instar larval stage. Parasitoids should not be released in the crown region since they will be killed by predators like spiders and reduviid bugs.
  • Remove and burn all affected leaves/leaflets.
  • Spray Malathion 50 EC 0.05% (1mi/lit) to cover the undersurface of the leaves thoroughly in case of severe epidemic outbreak of the pest in young palms.

Red palm weevil
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus

  • Remove and burn all wilting or damaged palms in coconut gardens to prevent further perpetuation of the pest.
  • Avoid injuries on stems of palms as the wounds may serve as oviposition sites for the weevil. Fill all holes in the stem with cement.
  • Avoid the cutting of green leaves. If needed, they should be cut about 120 cm away from the stem.
  • Setting up of attractant traps (mud pots) containing sugarcane molasses 2½ kg or toddy 2½ litres + acetic acid 5 ml + yeast 5 g + longitudinally split tender coconut stem/logs of green petiole of leaves of 30 numbers in one acre to trap adult red palm weevils in large numbers.
  • Root feeding: As under black headed caterpillar

Odontotermes obesus

  • Locate termite mounds in or near the coconut nursery or garden and destroy.
  • Swabbing with neem oil 5% once on the base and upto 2 m height of the trunk for effective control.
  • Spray Copper sulphate 1 % or Cashew nut shell oil 80 % followed by Copper sulphate 1 % then neem oil 5 % and copper sulphate 1 %, then NSKE 20 % to preserve planted coconut leaves from the termite attack.

Scale insect
Aspidiotus destructor

  • Do not harvest nuts for 45 days after spraying.

Mealy bugs
Pseudococcus longispinus

  • Remove leaflets harbouring these insects and destroy them

Spray any one of the following :

  • Malathion  50 EC 2 ml/lit (or)
  • Dimethoate  30 EC 1 ml/lit (or)
  • Methyl demeton 25 EC 1 ml/lit (or)
  • Phosphamidon 40 SL 1.25 ml/lit (or)
  • Methomyl 25 EC 1 ml/lit (or)
  • Neem oil 3%  (or)

Leaf caterpillars
Turnaca acuta

  • Collect and destroy the immature stages of the insects wherever possible and spray Carbaryl 0.1 %.

Nut caterpillar

Nut coreid bug

Slug caterpillar
Contheyla rotunda

Spray any one of the following:

  • Dichorvos 76 WSC  2 ml/lit
  • Bacillus thuringiensis 2 g/lit,
  • Triazophos  40 EC  5 ml
  • Methyl demeton 25 EC 4 ml/lit

Scolytid bark borer beetles
Xyleborus parvulus

  • Stem injection through a stove wick soaked in 0.2% fenthion or 0.2% dichlorvos and plugging the hole and repeating the treatment using the same wick and hole a month after.

Palm civet
Vivera zibatha

  • Poison baiting with ripe banana fruit sandwiched with 0.5 g carbofuran 3 G granules.

Rattus rattus wroughtoni

  • Tree banding with inverted iron cones or Prosophis thorns. Baiting with bromodialone 0.005% at 10 g/tree at crown region twice at an interval of 12 days.
top Top

Special problem: Coconut eriophyid mite (Aceria guerreronis)

Package of recommendations for the management of the coconut eriophyid mite

Coconut eriophyid mite

Manurial and fertilizer recommendation (Soil application/tree/year)

Urea 1.3 kg
Super phosphate 2.0 kg
Muriate of potash* 3.5 kg
* Increased quantity is recommended to increase the plant resistance to the mite.
Neem cake application @ 5 kg
Organic manure (well rotten FYM) @ 50 kg

Micronutrients (Soil application / tree / year)

Borax 50 g
Gypsum 1.0 kg
Magnesium sulphate 500g
Grow sunnhemp as intercrop twice a year (Seed rate 30 kg/ha)

top Top

Spot application of ecofriendly Botanicals

Round Eco-friendly Botanical Quantity / tree 
1. Azadirachtin 1% 5 ml in one lit. of water
2. Neem oil + Teepol 30 ml in one lit. of water
3. Azadirachtin 1% 5 ml in one lit. of water

Method of application

  • The botanicals should be applied in the sequence indicated above at 45 days interval using a one litre hand sprayer.  Rocker or Pedal sprayer can be used for spraying small trees.
  • The spray should be applied at the crown region by a climber covering only the top six bunches during non rainy season.
  • The bunches must be covered well by the spray fluid and approximately one litre of spray fluid may be required per tree

Precautions and safety measures

  • Spraying should be avoided during windy season to prevent contamination.
  • At the time of spraying, protective mask and clothing should be used.
  • Wash face and hands cleanly with soap after spraying.

The insect pests of the coconut palm are

Rhinoceros Beetle - Oryctes rhinoceros
Red Palm Weevil - Rhynchophorus ferrugineus
Black Headed Caterpillar - Opisina arenosella
Slug Caterpillar - Parasa lepida and Contheyla rotunda
Coconut Skipper - Gangara thyrsis and Suastus gremius
Coreid Bug - Paradasynus rostratus
Bag Worm - Manatha albipes
Lacewing Bug - Stephanitis typicus
Scale Insect - Aspidiotus destructor
Rats - Rattus rattus wroughtoni
Palm Civet - Vivera zibatha
Mealy Bugs - Pseudococcus longispinus
Termites - Odontotermes obesus
White Grub - Leucopholis coneophora
Eriophid Mite - Aceria guerreronis
Nut Borer - Cyclodes omma

Last Update : December 2014
© All Rights Reserved. TNAU 2008 - 2023.