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D. hewetti restricts its feeding to the flowers and young fruits of Piper nigrum (van der Vecht, 1935). The feeding damage caused at different stages of inflorescence development and fruit setting of pepper in Sarawak are detailed by Gumbek (1987).
Contact chemicals have been used extensively since the 1930s to control infestations of D. hewetti on pepper in Indonesia and Malaysia (van der Vecht, 1935; Gumbek, 1987). Since the bug feeds primarily on the developing flowers, agricultural measures to shorten the flowering period have also been suggested as a means for reducing levels of damage (van der Vecht, 1935).
No published information is currently available on biological or integrated control programmes for D. hewetti.
Population and Damage Forecasting
A method for forecasting population growth through sequential sampling of nymphal stages has been developed by Karmawati (1989). Population densities of this pest were found to be significantly higher on plants supported by living posts as compared to those supported by dead posts (Asnawi et al., 1988). The damage caused by D. hewetti at different stages of inflorescence development and fruit setting is discussed by Gumbek (1987). Methods for assessing flower spike damage have been investigated by Gumbek (1986). The middle of the flowering stage is the best time for assessing damage.
D. hewetti is a major pest of Piper nigrum in Indonesia and Malaysia.