The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) through the initiative of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE), and in cooperation with the National Crop Protection Center (NCPC) conducted seminars about the Lanzones Scale Insect or LSI in Calauan and Alaminos, Laguna on 30 March and 11 April 2017 respectively. LSI feed on the leaves of the fruit trees causing them to fall off. This poses a threat to lanzones farmers as the yield of lanzones will significantly decrease.
The Calauan Municipal Agriculture Office informed UPLB that the LSI infestation constitutes to as high as 80% in almost 10 ha lanzones farms particularly in Paliparan and Perez, two of the major lanzones growing areas of the town which needed technical assistance to help farmer leaders and growers control the spread of the pest to other areas. In Alaminos on the other hand, the Municipal Agriculturist requested for a seminar to enhance the growers’ knowledge on the threatening pest and the management measures while the LSI population is still manageable in the area.
NCPC experts Dr. Marcela M. Navasero (Scientist 1) and Mr. Randolph N. Candano (University Researcher) familiarized the growers to the LSI, an insect pest that was first observed in two lanzones growing areas, Nagcarlan and Liliw in 2012. The presence of LSI was later observed in Calauan and Alaminos in 2014, the yield reduction brought about by the pest was observed. The life cycle, effect, and control/management of LSI were discussed during the seminars.
One practical technology introduced to control the population and spread of LSI is the use of predatory insects such as earwigs (Chelisoches morio Fabr.). Earwigs were given away to Lanzones farmers after the seminars and instructions were given on how the earwigs will be released in lanzones plantations. According to Dr. Navasero, farms with high infestation rate would be difficult to control and is too late to manage, the control and/or technology will be good for the next cropping season.
UPLB-OVCRE staff conducted a needs assessment survey to gather more information on the needs of farmers in Calauan and Alaminos in addition to the current technical services being offered on LSI management. These on-going extension activities and technical assistance are part of UPLB’s aim to serve its neighboring communities in terms of agricultural production and related disciplines.