The damage inflicted by the Cecid fly on mango fruits, more popularly known as ‘Kurikong,’ is becoming an important concern of mango growers in many parts of the country.
Affected fruits are usually unmarketable because of the circular black or brown scabby lesions on the skin of the fruits. Both small and big fruits are affected. If the infestation is early, the affected young fruits usually drop from the tree.
On the other hand, affected fruits that reach maturity are unattractive and if they can be sold at all, they fetch a very low price. Some of the affected fruits also crack, according to the BPI experts.
The Cecid fly is a small mosquito-like insect that is active at night so spraying should be done at night or late in the afternoon. It lays its eggs on the developing fruits. If the mango tree is not in fruit, the Cecid fly lays its eggs on the leaves, causing circular protuberances on the surface.
The egg and larval stages are spent in the fruit while the pupal stage is spent in the ground, according to the BPI. The adult lives for only three to five days. Being small, the adults can be carried by wind. The pupa can be introduced in a new place when infested soil of planting materials is transported to that new place.
The BPI advises mango growers to undertake early precautionary measures so that adults will not develop and spread. This will also avoid damage to young fruits.
Here are preventive measures recommended by the BPI. One is pruning after harvest to allow light penetration in the crown and to reduce relative humidity. The experts point out that the insect prefers to stay in crowded and shady areas in the tree canopy.
Another recommendation is to keep the mango plantation free of weeds and grasses. The pest is observed to be rampant in weedy and uncultivated areas.
Bagging the fruits is also an effective method of avoiding Kurikong damage. Bag the fruits about 40 days from flower induction. Fallen fruits should be collected and burned or sprayed with insecticide.
Meanwhile, Kurikong will be one of the topics that is expected to be taken up at the National Mango Congress which will be held from April 27 to 29 at the Bohol Convention Center in Tagbilaran City.
author: Zac B. Sarian, www.mb.com.ph, photo from kriyayoga.com