Even though it is a fruit-sucking pest, D. piperis not only attacks the pepper fruit but also the flower liquids, young shoots, and leaf stalks. The damaged fruit shows symptoms of  black spots that later turn the fruit dry and empty, and eventually causes it to fall off the plant. This pest is especially active in the mornings and evenings and  hides in the plant canopy during the day. D. piperis attacks almost all pepper producing areas in Indonesia and causes 14,72 - 36% of fruit damage.

Pepper fruits aged 6 - 9 months are the most common stage for D. piperis development as the imago (last step of metamorphosis) can live longer and lay more eggs, thus producing a higher percentage of eggs that hatch and the number of nymphs that become imago. The presence of these pests in the field also depends on the pepper growing season and the existence of other hosts. Based on observations made in Bangka over a period of three years by Deciyanto, a Principal Researcher at the Center for Plantation Research and Development, June and November are the months when the population of fruit-sucking pests is highest.

Flower-sucking Pest (D. hewetti)

Nymphs and adult flower-sucking pests cause damage to pepper flowers and their stems. There are two types of symptoms caused by this pest. Mild symptoms include stem damage and malformation, and causes the plant to produce less fruit. Severe symptoms include black stalks, flower damage, including the withering of flowers.

Flower-sucking pests are spread throughout the largest pepper producing areas in Indonesia, including Sumatera, Kalimantan, and Bangka. According to  research, the development of D. hewetti highly depends on the pepper variety. These pests have more potential to attack the Lampung Daun Lebar variety than Chunuk variety, as seen from the shorter premature development time, greater ability for insects to produce offspring, and the higher intrinsic growth rate.

Pest Management

Fruit and flower-sucking pest management; can be accomplished in several ways, such as mechanically, biologically, technical culturally, and chemically. Mechanical management is carried out by taking adult insects that are directly found in plants. D. piperis and D. hewetti are sensitive to touch and vibration so farmers can knock out the insects by shaking the plant stems. Technical culture management can be done by creating an environment that fruit and flower-sucking pests don't like. One such way is to apply sufficient fertilizer to the plant. Based on research, plants with high amounts of fertilizer can increase its succulence so that the pests are likely to lay their eggs there. Biological management can be done by maintaining natural enemies. D. piperis’s natural enemies are egg parasitoids, such as Anastatus dasyni, Ooencyrtus malayensis, and Gryon dasyni with a parasitization rate of 70 - 80%. D. hewetti’s natural enemy is not widely known; however, predators of D. hewetti are spiders that are left alive by the farmers for the possibility that pests will be trapped in their web. Chemical management can be done by spraying insecticides that are suitable for the types of fruit and flower-sucking pests.

There are many fruit and flower-sucking pest management methods that farmers can choose from to keep their plant healthy. Additionally, management methods can be combined according to the needs and conditions of the plant. Through the SpiceUp;application, farmers can choose which pest control is most suitable for their pepper crop. Farmers will also receive e-learning materials that can help them monitor the existence of other pests that may potentially damage their pepper crops.


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