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Cocoa Mirids

Cocoa mirids in Amazonian Ecuador

The most important insect pests are of cocoa are mirids (Heteroptera: Miridae), also known in Ghana as Sankonuabe. Current surveys indicate 25-30% of the national acreage in Ghana has significant mirid damage, giving annual losses estimated at 100,000 tonnes. Four species are present in Ghana with Distantiella theobroma and Sahlbergella singularis being the major species. They occur at low overall densities but often aggregate in "pockets" where conditions are particularly favourable, e.g. a break in the shade canopy.

Effective control of mirids can be achieved with four sprays of insecticide during the main mirid season but insecticide spraying for control also kills natural enemies of mirids and other pests. This can lead to secondary pest outbreaks and the use of cocoa insecticides on non-cocoa crops poses problems risks to health. Thus, CABI scientists (Drs Oduor and Moore) and their collaborators in Ghana are searching for a safe, effective biopesticide alternative using fungi pathogenic to mirids. Extensions of this work into Cameroun that involves training of Camerounian scientists.

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Contact CABI Commodities:
CABI Commodities Coffee Co-ordinator - Dr. Peter Baker - p.baker@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Cocoa Co-ordinator - Dr. J. Flood - j.flood@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Project Administrator - cabi-commodities@cabi.org