The Philippine Counsil for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) alerted by the onslaught of ‘Kurikong’ on mangoes monitored and surveyed the infested areas.

Mango experts of PCAARRD observed that most mango growers do not practice the recommended package of technologies (POT) in mango production.

Mango growers in Bulacan and other neighboring provinces in Central Luzon recently reported high infestation of cecid fly.

Cecid fly is an insect that resembles a mosquito. It commonly lays its eggs on the fruit surface and young mango leaves. As the larva bores into the fruit and feeds on it, the larva causes circular spot or holes on the fruit. Infested mature fruit, on the other hand, develops randomly-distributed circular brown scab-like spots, locally known as ‘kurikong’

This insect pest ‘kurikong’ has caused 70-100% loss in yield, leaving the farmers with almost no income . When mangoes attacked at an early development stage , the fruit rots and falls off.

On the other hand, infested mature fruits develop ‘kurikong’ randomly distributed circular brown

Scab-like spots on the surface. These highly affect the quality, and therefore, the market price of the produce.

Dr. Oscar S. Opina, a mango expert and Science and Technology (S&T) consultant, stressed the importance of bagging young fruits. As many growers in Central Luzon do not practice bagging and other cultural management strategies, their farms become most vulnerable to infestation.

Likewise, Dr. Celia dr. Medina, a cecid fly expert and professor from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, encouraged farmers to follow insecticide management through wise use of chemical insecticides.

Kurikong Infestation was first recorded in 1987 and spread nationwide in 2010. Measures to prevent and control the infestation had been promoted since then.

Now that infestation recurs in Central Luzon and neighboring mango-growing regions, experts advise farmers to continuously practice the POT for mango especially the integrated pest management (IPM). Mango POT includes pruning crowed mango tree branches after every harvest, bagging of the fruits 45-55 days after flower induction, and proper sanitation in the orchard, among many other practices. (PScijourn megamanila)