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1. What is Cocolisap?

The coconut scale insect (CSI), scientifically known as Aspidiotus destructor Signoret
(Hemiptera: Diaspididae), is a small plant parasite that feeds on the leaves of young palms and on
the surface of fruits. Results to the yellowing and wilting of leaves, thus preventing photosynthesis
and causing premature nut fall and low productivity.

Coconut is the preferred host which is found mainly on the underside of the leaflets. In
severe cases, CSI infestation is seen all over the entire plant.

They are recorded in both sub tropical and tropical regions and is usually present in all
countries where coconut trees are present. It is also known as armored scale, transparent scale,
bourbon scale, bourbon aspidiotus and is sometimes called red flies because of the abundance of
male flies in severe outbreaks. CSI is present in most of the Pacific Island countries particularly the
atoll countries; Tuvalu and Kiribati.

Also attacks ornamental plants ornamental plants and fruit trees like mango, lanzones,
mango, mangosteen, guava, papaya and avocado breadfruit.

The life cycle of A. destructor typically lasts 32 to 35 days. The larvae (crawlers) and adult
males are the only mobile stages of the scale. The first-instar crawlers leave the maternal scale and
begin feeding by inserting feeding tubes on the affected part of the plant surface. The crawlers of
both sexes are mobile. They can move only to a limited distance on the affected plant. They mostly
depend on other agents - wind, birds, other animals, ants, etc. for dispersal. Heavy rains wash off
the crawlers from their hosts.

The eggs are yellow and very small. They are laid underneath the scale around the body of
the female. The female deposits 20-50 eggs over a period of few days. Incubation takes 7 to 8 days.
After hatching, the nymphs crawl out and colonies the plant surfaces.

The first-instar crawlers are about 1mm in length, yellowish-brown, oval and translucent.
Second-instar females are stationary and secrete a translucent wax cover. The second instar males
are smaller than the females. They group together, secrete a filamentous waxy material and become
immobile. The male pre-pupal and pupal stages are spent under the scale produced by the second-
instar stage.

The females have two nymph stages. The males have four, two feeding, a pre-pupal and a
pupal stage.

The scale cover of the adult female is oval to circular, 1.5-2.0 mm across, flat, thin and
translucent. The pale yellow exuviae are more or less central on the scale. Inside the scale the yellow
adult female measures 0.6-1.1 mm across. Adult males are more reddish than females, but much
smaller and more oval. The male has one pair of wings and is motile.

2. What are the causes and effects of Cocolisap in a coconut and other fruit bearing plant?

Causes of Cocolisap

One of the reasons is the bad agricultural practices such as overuse or misuse of
pesticides, particularly on the vegetables and fruit trees planted under coconut. Pesticides also
kill natural enemies and without natural enemies, thus, the insect pests are free to multiply
without any control.

The favorable climatic condition conducive to insect pests favors its multiplication. Scale
insects multiply faster in hot and dry weather and the 2009 El Nino phenomenon that hit the
Southern Luzon, particularly Batangas, allowed the scale insect to reproduce faster and trigger
increase in population. The life cycle of the scale insect is only 30 days and a single female can
produce as much as 200-250 offspring.

Changing weather conditions also affect insect/pest succession and the insects that best
adapt to the changing climate colonizes the host plants faster. With no competition for the
source of food, the scale insects were able to colonize the coconut palms easily.

Effects on Coconut

Damages to leaves, stalks and branches cause stunt growth, defoliation and dieback.

Damages to fruits cause blemishes, deformed and unmarketable.

Development of sooty mould on plant surfaces, especially on leaves, which stops
photosynthesis. A sweet excretion attracts ants, which scare away the natural enemies of
the scale and assist in spread of crawlers.

Insects feeding on the leaves results to yellowing and progressing that results to drying
and wilting in young and old palms. There is premature nutfall that results in yield
reduction. The coconut scale insect also colonizes the fronds, young and old fruits and
petioles. Coconut seedlings and young palms are more likely to die from scale insect
outbreaks than mature palm.

3. Give at least 6 issues and concerns about Cocolisap in our country.

PCA declares 'cocolisap' outbreak

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has declared that the so-called
Cocolisap situation, where millions of coconut trees in the country have been infested
by the coconut scale insect,Aspidiotus rigidus, has reached "outbreak" proportions.

"We now have an outbreak situation, as the pest is now causing much economic
damage," PCA administrator Romulo Arancon told journalists on Monday, "impacting
more than 60% of the total production (in the affected areas), so it is really an
outbreak."

The coconut scale infestation is estimated to affect as many as 2.1 million coconut trees,
mostly in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) area, although there
have also been reports of infestation in some parts of Mindanao, such as Basilan and
Zamboanga.

Davao coco farmers oppose use of chemicals for prevention of cocolisap to prevent
collapse of coco industry

A farmers' movement in this city is up in arms against the use of Neonicotinoids
chemicals for injection into coconut trunks to prevent spread of the coconut scale
insects (CSI) more popularly known as cocolisap infestation because this will cause
collapse of the coconut industry, certified organic farms and the bee keeping industry.

Save the Coconut Movement (SCM), a group composed of coconut farmers,
landowners, organic farmers and bee farmers, called for a total ban on the use of
chemical pesticides in affected areas.

In a statement, SCM co-convenor Dennis Lainez said the coconut industry will
suffer if foreign buyers will refrain from buying chemically-laced coconut products from
the Philippines, adding that local industries that depend on coconut will suffer if a single
death or disability will occur because of the consumption of a chemically-laced coconut.

Scientists warn against use of chemical pesticides vs cocolisap

The government should think twice before implementing chemical methods
and other knee-jerk reactions to combat the infestation of coconut scale insects, such as
the use of dinotefuran, a pesticide found to be harmful to pollinators. Instead of abating
the current situation, this step could further damage our coconut industry," said Finesa
Cosico, Secretary General of AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the
People.

P12 billion lost to cocolisap
Coconut industry losses caused by the cocolisap infestation may reach P12 billion,
the Philippine Coconut Authority said on Thursday.
Based on our estimates, value of production losses in the Calabarzon area alone
was at P12 billion because we are expecting a 55 to 60 percent loss in nut production, said
PCA Administrator Romulo Arancon Jr.
PCA said on Wednesday that an outbreak of cocolisap disease in Calabarzon and
Basilan had affected at least two million stands. Cocolisap is industry parlance for coconut
scale insects which feed on trunks and leaves.
The cocolisap infestation was first discovered in Tanauan then spread to adjoining
towns of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Quezon. These provinces comprise Calabarzon which
includes Rizal.
Arancon said that although the number of infested trees only accounted for 1.13
percent of the 350 million stands, the livelihood of coconut farmers have already been
affected.
State of emergency declared in coconut scale insect infested areas.

President Benigno Aquino III today signed Executive Order 169 enforcing a state of
emergency in areas infested by coconut scale insects after over a million coconut trees were
infested. This is to unify and accelerate the efforts of the government in managing and
controlling the infestation in four provinces in CALABARZON Region and Basilan Province.
It is an emergency measures declaration. It is serious that it can spread to the Bicol
Region and if left unmanaged can lead up to annual losses of up to 33 billion pesos. We
have to move fast that is why we are endorsing a significant increase in our current efforts
to stop the infestation. We have to defeat this pest immediately, said Presidential Assistant
on Food Security and Agriculture Modernization Kiko Pangilinan.
At least 1,084, 531 coconut trees in the country are affected by the of the infestation.
These microscopic scale insects feed on leaves, causing the leaves to wilt and the tree,
eventually, to die. Around 4 million scale insects can infest a tree at a given time and are
easily dispersed through the air.
Outbreaks

The epidemic began and continues to spread in Calabarzon, the Luzon region
with the biggest coconut industry. The infestation was first reported to the PCA in
March 2010. It was first spotted in Barangay Balele in Tanauan, Batangas. PCA scientists
and farmers observed serious yellowing of coconuts and the drying of the trees leaves.
The water inside the nuts tasted sour PCA confirmed it was caused by coconut scale
insects. On Augusts 24, 2012, Sanguniang Bayan declared 6 Barangays of Batangas under
the State of Calamity (Barangays of Adia, San Jacinto, Coral na Munti, Balangon, Pamiga
and Mabini). A total of 17 million trees were infested in the country. PCA Administrator
Euclides Forbes said that the infestation has affected a negligible 0.05 percent of the
340 million coconut trees in the country. (17 million total) 931,139 coconut trees were
infested in Batangas, Quezon, Laguna and Cavite, of which 903,977 or 97.08% were
pruned, 257,996 were sprayed and 257,943 were fertilized by the PCA with the
assistance of LGUs.

4. What are the preventive measures to avoid Cocolisap?

a. Mechanical Control

Leaf pruning.

Coconut leaf pruning reduces the reproducing population of the scale insects
and prevents the spread to other areas. Since the pest affects older leaves, some of
which are no longer photosynthetically active, removal of the older, infested leaves
will not affect the fruiting and yield of the palm. The pruned leaves can either be
used as firewood in households, made into small stick brooms for additional income,
utilized to make Hand-made paper, carbon and charcoal briquettes for livelihood
opportunities, made into organic fertilizer or burned. Infested nuts should also be
removed sine they will serve as source of new infestation on the pruned trees later
on.

Washing coconut fruits with soap and water.

Infested fruits intended for marketing (such as buko or mature nuts) should be
washed with soap and water to remove the scale insects ion the fruits to prevent
the spread of the pest from the farm to farm. The nuts should be detached from the
peduncle since the scale insects also colonizes the petioles. The petioles can be
burned, used as firewood or carbonized to produce the charcoal briquettes.


b. Chemical Control

Chemical control is recommended only if biological control is not effective.
Pesticides can also kill the natural enemies present in the field. There are, however, a
number of insecticides which could be used on affected plants and young establishing
coconut plants. Some of the recommended insecticides are diazinon, chlorpyrifos,
methidathion and white-oils.

Inject a coconut tree trunk with pesticide
Spread fertilizer around the infested tree
Spraying of insecticides and horticultural oils

Management with pesticides can be doubly difficult because of the waxy
material that protects A. destructor from many insecticides. In young palms and
seedlings, chemical control with contact or systemic insecticides such as pirimiphos-
methyl, methyl parathion and dimethoate can also be used. Pesticide spraying is
impractical, difficult and expensive in mature coconut palm. Other delivery methods of
pesticides for mature palms must be explored to avoid environmental contamination
and minimize the hazardous effects on pesticide applicators and other non-target
organism. As soft-bodied insects, scale insects are susceptible to mineral oil sprays.
Mineral oils can be used to spray infested palms instead of pesticides but spraying tall,
mature palm can still be difficult and expensive. Delivery systems for oil sprays also
need to be evaluated to optimize the use of horticultural oils against the coconut scale
insect.

c. Cultural Control

Plant cover crops, other leguminous crops and banana under coconut to enhance
population of parasitoids.

d. Local Quarantine Regulations

Avoid the transport of infested plant parts, coconut planting materials and other
materials that could result in the spread of the pest to other non-outbreak areas.
Transport of coconut leaves and nuts are the easiest way to spread the pest to other
coconut-growing areas.


5. What are the Biological Methods to be applied to prevent Cocolisap?

Larvae and adults of coccinellid predators feed on coconut scale insects. The life of these
predatory beetles last for 2-3 months during which time the larva and adults continue to feed
on scale insects.

In the Philippines there are many known coccinellid predators that can be reared for
inundative and augmentative releases in outbreak areas to regulate coconut scale insect
populations such as Cryptolemus, Scymnus, Pseudoscymnus, Chilocorus and Telsimia Biological
control takes time to establish and be effective in pest outbreaks. Pests still occur especially
when natural enemies become absent as a result of extreme conditions such as typhoons. The
use of biological control strategies such as predators is seen as a long term solution to these
pest surges. PCA is now rearing several species of predators for release in outbreak areas.

6. What are the factors might influence a change in the population?

One of the reasons was the use of residue sprays of a non-insecticidal nature, such a
precipitates of copper, zinc and manganese. It has been demonstrated that the scale infestations
develop more rapidly following such sprays than when they were omitted and that the scale
population was more or less proportional to the amount of residue left by the spray.

The growing condition of the trees is also a factor in scale development. Trees in thrifty
growing condition with a high percentage of green leaves are more suitable for scale
development than trees that are hard or have a large percentage of bronzed and frenched leaves.

Shade must be considered as a factor in influencing scale formations. The more recent
practice of supplying certain elements of plant food which include zinc, manganese and
magnesium, to the trees has resulted in larger trees with more foliage which creates shaded
conditions ideal for scale development.

Seasonal conditions also play an important part in scale development. During the past three
years scales have increased materially between October and February, a period when scale
development is ordinarily slow.