Coconut mite (Aceria (=Eriophyes) guerreronis)
This mite is tiny and difficult to see with the naked eye. When very many mites are together they appear as fine whitish dust. The coconut mite attacks and damages the upper part of the nutlets under the sepals of up to 6 months old nutlets. Attack is severe during the dry season. Attacked nuts may fall or have a scarred husk, which often splits. The nuts of coconuts showing light scarring on the husk are not seriously affected but in heavily scarred nuts there is significant damage to the nuts.
- Remove mature and prematurely fallen nuts. Although few mites are normally found on old bunches, they could rapid colonise young bunches.
- Provide balanced fertilisation to the palms. Mite damage seems to increase with increasing levels of nitrogen, and decreases with potassium. This suggests that the addition of N fertiliser could worsen the mite problem. However, the increased yield from fertiliser input could offset any increased loss due to worsened mite attack.
- Spray young bunches with sulphur (wettable sulphur at high dosage of 0.5%)
- Spray neem kernel extracts. Reportedly neem extracts are effective against this mite. For more information on Neem click here.