Fruit flies and other pests can severely affect the yield farmers expect from their mango trees. Pests can damage the fruit and spread diseases. Poor hygiene in mango orchards increases the build up of pests. Overgrown and bushy trees make pest management difficult, and it’s important to prune and dispose of infected branches. There are several things farmers can do to manage these pests.
What are some key facts about pest management in mangoes?
• Farmers should always remove overripe mango fruits—they provide breeding sites for fruit flies.
• Collect and dispose of fallen and damaged mangoes in a separate environment, feed to livestock, or bury in a three-metre-deep hole and cover with black polythene, since fallen and damaged mangoes can act as breeding sites for pests.
• Harvest mangoes when they are physiologically mature instead of when they are overripe. At this stage, they are not at risk of fruit fly infestation.
• Prune mango trees to about 3.5 metres to ensure that all branches are at knee level (0.5 metres). Maintaining that height eases pest and disease management.
• Prune branches infested with pests and dispose of away from the orchard.
• Intercropping mangoes with papaya, pineapples, legumes, and fodder crops reduces pest pressure in orchards. However, these crops can be a source of scale insects, so farmers must take good care.
• Bag or net maturing mango fruits to protect them from infestation by fruit flies and other pests.
• Monitor maturing mango shoots to protect them from tip borers.
• Band trees by painting a 1-foot-wide band on the trunk with an insecticide at least two feet from the ground. This prevents pests from ascending the tree.
Learn more in this backgrounder: http://scripts.farmradio.fm/radio-resource-packs/112-farm-radio-resource-pack/backgrounder-pest-management-mangoes/