Insect wars: PCA deploy earwigs to fight leaf beetles in Palawan coconut plantations
Brontispa longissima, the two-colored leaf beetle that feeds on young leaves of seedlings and mature coconut palms, has been fully-controlled in Palawan.
Raul Aguilar of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said the leaf beetle has already been subdued through biological pest control (BPC) using black earwig which acted like the “soldiers” of coconut farmers in eliminating the leaf beetle.
“We have long resolved the problem of brontispa in the province, and although they remain to be present in coconut trees, it is no longer a threat as we have determined how to manage it,” Aguilar said Thursday in a Kapihan hosted by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
He said they were able to manage the problem on brontispa after the PCA set up bio-labs in Aborlan and Brooke’s Point to 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.
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 to the provinces of Zambales and Laguna that also suffered coconut leaf beetle infestation problems.
Palawan has over 103,000 hectares of land planted with coconut trees. (PNA)