Survey of insect pests on Moringa oleifera in Samoa

R. Kant, R.C. Joshi, I. Faleono
Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.) is known as “wonder tree” for its potential health benefits and its ability to cure several diseases in animals and humans. Its extracts have been used for insect pest management. Just like any other plant, M. oleifera is also attacked by various kinds of arthropods and diseases. Our initial literature search and anecdotal information collected from selected Pacific Islands countries (Fiji, Tonga and Samoa), suggests that no pests of M. oleifera are either documented or recorded. Thus, this study endeavoured to survey pests of M. oleifera in the Pacific, especially in Samoa. We examined different parts of the M. oleifera plant, such as flower, fruits (drumsticks and pods), leaves, stems and trunks for signs of insect damage. Samples for pest examination were collected from Apia and nearby area on the Upolu Island, and were examined with the naked eye and also under a stereomicroscope. Our results showed minor damage to the M. oleifera flowers. Plant hoppers (nymphs and adults) were frequently observed on the upper surface of the M. oleifera leaves. Severe stem borer damage was observed as tunnels on the main trunk and branches of the tree. The length of the tunnels observed was up to 45 cm, with a diameter ranging from 8-15 mm. Thus, our preliminary exploratory insect pest survey indicates that M. oleifera in Samoa is attacked by plant hoppers and stem borer. However, their infestations are currently at low levels and no pest management strategy is currently available to manage them. However, a pest management strategy should be developed as M. oleifera is already gaining importance in most Pacific Island countries and territories, in food and nutrition security programmes.
Kant, R., Joshi, R.C. and Faleono, I. (2017). Survey of insect pests on Moringa oleifera in Samoa. Acta Hortic. 1158, 195-200
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1158.23
stem borer, Pacific Islands countries, pitfall traps, leafhoppers, destructive sampling

Acta Horticulturae