Brontispa longissima, the two-colored leaf beetle that feeds on young leaves of seedlings and mature coconut palms, has been placed under control in Palawan, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) announced recently.
Once a serious problem of coconuts in the province, the spread of the leaf beetle has been prevented by a campaign using the biological pest control black earwig, according to Raul Aguilar of the PCA.
Black earwig, Aguilar said, is “like the soldier of the coconut farmers” as it eliminates the coconut leaf beetle.
“We have long resolved the problem of brontispa in the province, and although there remains to be presence in coconut trees, it is no longer a threat as we have determined how to manage it,” Aguilar said Thursday during a Kapihan hosted by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
He said they were able to manage the problem in brontispa after the PCA set up bio-labs in Aborlan and Brooke’s Point that now produce the black earwig.
“We don’t use chemical control anymore because they kill other friendly insects. We are using bio-control with the use of black earwig,” he said, explaining that their bio-labs are raising them to be released in brontispa longissima-infested coco palms.
The black earwig has a pair of forceps-like pincers on its abdomen. It feeds on the larva of the brontispa, which Aguilar said, is the most destructive stage of the leaf beetle.
The PCA bio-labs also supply black earwigs in the provinces of Zambales and Laguna, which have coconut leaf beetle infestation in the past.
Palawan has over 103,000 hectares of land planted with coconut trees.