Cacao Pest in the Philippines

Most common cacao pests in the Philippines are: Cacao Pod Borer, Vascular Streak Dieback, Helopeltis and Cacao Stem Borer. Whereas, the most common cacao disease is Black Pod.

  1.  Cacao Pod Borer (Conopormorpha cramelerella)
    • Regular harvesting (weekly harvesting of all ripe pods) in order to break the lifecycle of the pest.
    • Sanitation; which includes to bury all empty cacao pod husks, but also to remove all other diseased pods, black pods, and pods eaten by animals from the trees
    • Pruning; to increase the sunlight, which the pest does not favor.
    • Bagging or sleeving of the young pods with newspaper and stapler (or plastic bag).
    • Fertilizer; to increase the general health of the tree and in addition increasing cacao production.
  2. Vascular Streak Dieback (caused by Oncobasidium theobromae)
    • Sanitation pruning – cut off infected branches at 30 cm below the infected area, and burn the infested cuttings
    • Nurseries should use polyethylene roofing to ensure spores cannot land on the seedlings
    • Shade on the cacao trees should be reduced to lower humidity
    • Plant VSD tolerant varieties such as hybrids PA 173 x SCA 9, PA 138 x SCA 9, ICS 39 x SCA 6, PA 156 x IMC 67, PA 156 x SCA 9, ICS 95 x SCA 6, clones PBC 123, PBC 159, ICS 95 and others.
  3. Black Pod Rot and Canker Control Method (caused by Phytophtora palmivora)
    • Frequent harvesting to avoid pathogen sporulation.
    • Harvest all the infested, dead and mummified pods and ideally destroy or bury them.
    • Prune the cacao trees and shade trees to reduce humidity.
    • Have a good drainage system so that the spores cannot spread in puddles of water.
    • Trees that have died due to tree canker should be cut down and destroyed.
    • Scraping off the bark from the infected area and put paint or soap on it.
  4. Helopeltis Control method (Helopeltis: a sap-sucking bud)
    • Typically, Helopeltis likes open canopies and sunlight penetration. Still, one should prune the trees carefully and reduce shade if it is too heavy – this is to allow better visibility on the disease and better application of control methods. (Note: if pruning is too rigorous, new chupons will grow which are a feeding ground for Helopeltis).
    • General sanitation of farm
    • Regular harvesting
  5. Stem Borer Control Method (Zeuzera)
    • Cut off infested braches at 40 cm below the lowest larvae hole. These branches should be destroyed.
    • After pruning of an infested tree, big branches, especially those with stem borer holes, should be burned.
    • The hole can be covered or plugged with mud or wood to prevent the larva to come out, so that it cannot feed and hatch, or cannot breathe.
    • Poking the larvae out with a piece of wire.
    • Squirt some soap solution in the exit hole. After a while, the larva will emerge from the hole, probably driven out by the unpleasant soap fume. Catch and kill the Stem Borer.



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