- Narrow distribution. Common in Papua New Guinea. It spread to Solomon Islands in the 1980s. On bele (aibeka, slippery cabbage). An important pest.
- Eggs laid in soil near the stem; larvae feed on small roots, then pupate; adults (4 mm long) feed on leaves.
- Leaves are ruined as a food by the presence of the many holes.
- Cultural control: plant far from infested crops; plant in clover, under shade, or in the wet season; handpick; cultivate around stem to expose eggs; use thick grass mulches; put horticultural glue bands (e.g., Tanglefoot) around stems.
- Chemical control: spray with wood ash (ash + lime in water); alternatively, PDPs: neem, derris and pyrethrum, or spinosad; or synthetic pyrethroids, but likely to kill natural enemies.
Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides
Bele (Abelmoschus) flea beetle (022)
Photo 1. Extensive damage on leaves of bele by Nisotra basselae, such that growers in many parts of Solomon Islands have abandoned its cultivation.
There is no common name, but bele flea beetle, Abelmoschus flea beetle, aibika flea beetle sliperi kabis flea beetle would all be suitable.
AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information from (including Diagram) Maclean V, Entomologist, SPC, and Chris Reid, Principal Research Scientist, Entomology, Australian Museum, Sydney.
Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.