Bio-suppression of coconut rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros L Coleoptera Scarabaeidae by Oryctes baculovirus Kerala isolate in South Andaman, India
Prasad, G.S.; Jayakumar, V.; Ranganath, H.R.; Bhagwat, V.R.
Crop Protection 27(6): 959-964
Coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryetes rhinoceros L.) is the major constraint in the production of coconut across the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. To suppress the pest population, baculovirus was released for the first time in 1987 at four locations in South Andaman, which brought down palm damage to insignificant levels within 48 months of release. However, during 1999-2000 large-scale telling of old coconut palms to be replaced with fresh ones by the Andaman Plantation Development Corporation (APDC) resulted in a fresh outbreak of coconut rhinoceros beetle. This warranted release of virus through infected beetles to suppress the pest population. A dose of 130 mu g crude virus preparation (CVP)/beetle ensured optimum longevity coupled with low fecundity for efficient dispersal of virus. Release of such pre-infected beetles (795) at five locations in South Andaman resulted in over 90% reduction in palm damage within 23 months of release. Examination of experimental and adjoining palm groves confirmed the prevalence of virus among the sampled beetle population, which registered three-fold increases since the release of virus. There was a drastic reduction to the extent of 91% in the occupancy. However, the recent tsunami in December 2004 in addition to destroying 5000ha of coconut area has generated huge amounts of organic matter, which has resulted in the rhinoceros beetle outbreak. Augmentation of virus is suggested for effective management of the pest.