A recently established Incident Response Team in Seychelles has introduced measures to control the spread of a beetle feeding on golden apples in the country.
The beetle, which agricultural officials have preliminary identified as Podontia quatuordecimpunctata, commonly known as leaf beetle, was first seen in the Bel Air area on the main island of Mahe.
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.
“We began fumigations as soon as we were informed in November, however we had to relent a bit due to the weather conditions,” Roy Govinden, a response team member, told SNA.
The beetle is brightly coloured – usually yellow or salmon pink- with an antenna of 11 segments. As an adult it can measure up to 5mm in length.
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.
“We are taking a suppression approach to fighting the beetle – tackling it from the areas outside of where the first sightings were reported and working our way to the epicentre,” he said.
The officials also have had reports that the beetle has spread to other areas of Mahe such as La Louise, La Misere and Bel Ombre.
The golden apple is a fruit used in the local Creole cuisine – either raw in salads or cooked.
The discovery of the beetle is at a time when the fruit is in season and its trees are flowering all over the country.
Following the fumigation of the affected golden apple trees, it will take time to see the impact.
“We will only know how much of an impact our efforts have had in around a month’s time,” Govinden concluded.