Pest status of date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) in arid regions of India
Date Palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is considered one of the fruit trees that belong to Palmaceae. The genus consists of fourteen species distributed in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. Many arthropod species are known as pests of the date palm throughout the World. Its reported on more than 50 species of insects and mites as pests of date palms in worldwide. In which, approximately 25% of these species of insects and mites are considered serious pests. In India, the main pests are white scale, Parlatoria blanchardii; lesser date moth, Batrachedra amydraula; red palm weevil (coconut weevil), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus; rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros, great date moth, Arenipses sabella, Alternaria leaf spot, Alternaria alternate, fruit rot, Aspergillus niger and Fusarium wilt, Fusarium oxysporum and they are well adapted to the oasis environment, have been reported to cause serious losses to date palm. Date palm scale is very serious on young palms between two to eight years of age, but even under severe attacks, the palm and its offshoots do not die. The scale insect was observed as major pests in all the orchards in mild to severe form ranging from 1.10 cm² at Dantore to 18.77 cm² at Bikaner. Lesser date moth is an important insect pest of date palm infesting fruits. The lesser date moth is second major pest of date palm in Rajasthan and the incidence of this pest was around 16 to 35 %. Fruit rot disease incidence was recorded during survey program from 10.0 and 30.5% in Bajju and Bikaner, respectively. Alternaria leaf spot disease incidence was noticed in KVK, Fatehpur (Rajasthan) up to 45.50%.
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