Leaf beetle: Infestations found only on Seychelles’ Mahe Island, says senior official

Leaf beetle: Infestations found only on Seychelles' Mahe Island, says senior official
Leaf beetle: Infestations found only on Seychelles' Mahe Island, says senior official

Africa-Press – Seychelles. A senior official of the Seychelles’ agricultural department has revealed that although a large number of leaf beetles that are feeding on golden apple trees reported on the Seychelles’ main island of Mahe, none have been found on the other Inner and Outer islands.

Roy Govinden, senior agricultural research officer and a member of the rapid response team, told SNA that “From December of last year until mid-March 2024, we have received a total of 594 reports” of beetle infestations.

Govinden said, “The pest has been reported in a total of 20 districts around Mahe, the majority of reports were from Anse Etoile, followed by Beau Vallon and English River. To date, no reports of the pests have been made on the Inner and Outer islands.”

The leaf beetle was first reported in Seychelles in November 2023 and has been attacking golden apple trees on the main island of Mahe, prompting the Department of Agriculture to establish a rapid response team to deal with the infestation.

The beetle is brightly coloured – usually yellow or salmon pink- with an antenna of 11 segments and as an adult it can measure up to 5 millimetres in length.

The Department of Agriculture suspects that the beetle was introduced into the country through imported goods, as this kind of beetle is common in India, China, Philippines and Malaysia.

Since the discovery of the beetle in Seychelles, the Department of Agriculture has sent its technicians to examine the situation as well as fumigate the areas it was found on all affected golden apple trees.

So far the team has held fogging operations at 193 locations, targeting 273 trees – representing 32 percent of the total complaints received.

Govinden revealed that as a result of the fogging, they have seen “many of the golden apple trees that have been sprayed have fully recovered from the pest infestation.”

Despite the recorded success in its operations to suppress the beetle, the department “faces challenges due to a limited number of foggers, spray operators and weather conditions,” he added.

Furthermore, the technicians cannot carry out fogging activities when it is raining, leading to delays in addressing all complaints promptly.

Meanwhile, the department is advising those who have a single tree at their home that is infested with leaf beetles to use common household insecticidal sprays.

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