Guillermo Millmoeda, officer-in-charge of the North Cotabato Integrated Pest Management said their office has documented mussel scale infestations in the towns of Makilala, Magpet, President Roxas and Kidapawan City.
Millomeda however could not ascertain how many hectares of lanzones trees have been affected.
“Our personnel in the field are still gathering data to determine the accurate number of hectares in the affected towns,” Millomeda said.
According to the website of Kendall Bioresearch Services (http://www.kendall-bioresearch.co.uk/hemip1.htm), Mussel Scale (Lepidosaphes ulmi) insects “attack many deciduous trees and shrubs, including apples and other fruit and ornamental trees. Infestations are most severe on older trees and may impair plant growth and vigour. Eggs are laid under the scales in late summer.”
Millomeda suggested to fruit growers to constantly monitor Mussel scales in their fruit trees.
He said the insects could be easily detected by placing a transparent tape on the leaves.
Millomeda explained that the tape traps the insects.
But Millomeda discouraged fruit growers from using pesticides or insecticides in killing these pests. He suggested a traditional way of combating mussel scales by simply cutting the branches of the affected lanzones trees.
“By cutting the branches, we would be able to prevent the spread to other branches,” he explained. (MindaNews)