White Flies Take Heavy Toll On Coconut Cultivations In Several Districts


Egged on by warm weather, which is ideal for the propagation of white flies, already the pest is spreading fast and attacking coconut cultivations in several districts

When contacted, Chairman Coconut Research Institute Jayantha Wickremasinghe told The Earthlanka that the biggest stumbling block apart from the heat was that white flies typically fed on the undersides of fronds, which he termed as a hurricane task to tackle due to big leaves. “Spraying underside…is quite a difficult task,” he added. He also said that it was the first time they had experienced a pest attack of such magnitude. However, he said that they were in the process of collecting data from growers directly affected and researchers were being sent to affected sites,The Coconut Research Institute researchers said that white-fly infestation was spreading across particularly among Coconut and King Coconut cultivations in the wet-zone. Infestation was worst hit in the Kandy, Kegalle, Matale and Gampaha Districts particularly due to dry weather conditions, low moisture in the soil and low humidity attributed to the spread of white-flies. The CRI says White flies inflict damage by sucking the nectar from young plants causing stunted growth, leaf yellowing and reduced yields.