Today we were given the amazing opportunity to visit the Koronivia Research Station. We had expected to learn about plant propagation and we were going to write our blog on it. But since we didn’t actually learn about plant propagation we must instead talk about anything that we learned. At the station we learned about the insects on the island, then we learned about the chemistry part of the research station, and finished the trip off by visiting the pigs that they keep there.
While we were in the insect room I read a poster about the effect of the dalo beetle in Fiji and decided to write my blog post on it. The dalo beetle was found in Veisari, Fiji for the first time in 1984. Since then the beetle has spread to eight different areas in fiji, 6 areas on Viti Levu and 1 area on Vanua Levu, and 1 area on Ovalau. To attempt to reduce the spreading of the beetle all the root crops from the infested areas that are being used in non infested areas for cultural occasions must first be inspected, approved and authorized as beetle free by locality Extension, Research, or Quarantine offices.
Some plants that host the beetles are cyrtosperma, yam, sweet potato, dalo suckers, dalo salusalu, banana, and potted plants. Their breeding habitats include rotten logs, saw dust, poultry manure, and compost heaps. What makes the dalo beetle so made is the symptoms and damages that it has on the plants. These symptoms and damages include damaging young plants, new planting material will shrink and die. Arguably the worst think about the beetle is what happens when it damages the corm. When this happens the damaged corm will be rejected for selling and they are entry points for fungus that can be causing corm rot.
To help get rid of the beetles, there are chemicals that the farmers can apply to the infective plant. The method of application starts by diluting the chemical with water and pouring it into a spray tank and during application the spray nozzle should be removed. Although there are methods of killing dalo beetles, they aren’t doing enough at the moment because the beetle is still a big issue and will continue to be for years to come.