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Sweet potato weevil

Cylas formicarius, C. bruneus Fukusi wa viazi vitamu in Swahili
  • Plant uninfected clean tender vine tips (not the older parts) from uninfected fields. Avoid using tubers for planting as they may contain weevil larvae.
  • Establish a nursery in an un-infected plot as a source of clean planting material.
  • Dip planting material into a pesticide before planting (see yellow column)
  • Use deep-rooted tolerant varieties such as Simama, Sinia, Mavuno, Ukerwe, Vumilia and others.
  • Plant early in the main cropping season to give enough time for the crop to mature before dry period.
  • Close soil cracks in the mounds by hoeing or earthing up around the base of the plants to stop the weevil entering soil to lay eggs or feed on tubers
  • Harvest 3 months after planting to avoid cracks in dry soil where the weevils enter.
  • Plant barrier crops around field, such as banana or cassava.
  • Remove alternative hosts of weevils such as wild Ipomoea.
  • Clean up all remains of the old crop, particularly infested vines and tubers, and destroy them e.g. by feeding to livestock. Do not bury remains as weevils can still survive.
  • Do not store the remains near fields
  • Rotate sweet potatoes 2-3 seasons with maize, pulse, or legumes
  • Regularly check field for open soil cracks, about twice per month.
  • The weevil adult is 6 - 8 mm long and has a long pointed mouth. It is black with a small red-brownish part, and can fly.
  • Look for 1 to 5 mm long larvae that feed inside the tubers and make tunnels and holes.
  • Monitoring of larvae and adults is very difficult.
  • Pheromone taps might be used to capture male adults (2 traps/acre) or light traps, to detect presence of weevils.
  • None
  • Larvae and pupae are hidden inside the tubers and adults hide most of their life inside the soil or tubers so cannot be reached by pesticides.
  • Spraying insecticide on the ground is not effective because the chemical will not move into the soil to kill the weevils
  • Wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label.
  • WHO class II (and Tanzanian red and yellow-label products) are not advised in Tanzania. Farmers are not allowed to buy or use WHO class II products without special permits and training.
  • Always consult recent list of registered pesticides (MAFC / TPRI).
  • Use Cypermethrin–based products for preventively dipping tubers into the pesticides for 1-2 minutes before planting (but prefer vines/cuttings for planting); pyrethroid pesticide group.
  • WHO toxicity class II (moderately hazardous). High risk to bees, very toxic to aquatic organisms. Do not consume treated tubers and do not feed to livestock.
AUTHOR(S): Mwangi Jubilant, Plant Health Services, MAFS, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, phone+ 255 756599935,; Khalid Issere, Kongwa District Council, Dodoma, Tanzania, +255 782113163;

PRODUCED BY: Plantwise

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