Like any crop, the mango tree and fruit is attacked by mango pests thus limiting the profitability of mango. The good news is, you can significantly reduce mango pests through some management decisions, for example:

  • Selection of proper orchard site
  • Selection of cultivars
  • Controlled fertilizer application
  • Timely pesticide or insecticide spray application
  • Adequate orchard sanitation
  • Timing of irrigation

Please note that the mango tree is most vulnerable to mango pest attack during the flowering and fruiting season. What this means, “You have to take extra precaution on pests during such times.”

An absence of Mango Pests in Your Orchard Not Guaranteed

However, even when implementing these decisions there is no guarantee that some of these stubborn mango pests will not occur. You should examine trees frequently to check for any mango pest infestations so that you apply control measures, mainly for export fruits, before extensive damage can occur.

I have mentioned specific insecticides in this blog post that you can use to control mango pests. These mango pesticides and insecticides are generally given as examples and should not be regarded as exclusive of others.

Also, I have avoided the use of trade names as possible as one active ingredient could have several trade names from different manufacturers.

When it comes to the use of pesticides to control mango pests, it is important to rotate them so that no resistance can build up primarily in the nursery. I have used the pesticides mentioned in this post in field research trials although I advise you to check with horticultural extension officer for the latest control recommendations and the respective recommended pre-harvest intervals

In situations where chemical control agents are not available or affordable, you can use phyto-pesticides popularly known as plant extracts from plants like Tephrosia vogelii and Azadirachta indica (neem tree) to control mango pests.

Mango fruit fly

Ripening mangos can be attacked by different types of mango fruit flies. Attacks by this mango pests are so severe that you can lose up to 50% of your mango yields. The most devastation mango fruit flies Ceratitis cosyra followed by C. rosa and C. capitata.

The females lay their eggs under the surface of the fruit skin. After hatching, the larvae penetrate the flesh and destroy the fruit from inside. The infested part becomes mushy and causes premature coloring of the already useless fruit. Fruits of some cultivars are more susceptible to attack than those of others.

To successfully control Mango fruit flies in your mango orchard, use a combination of the following:

  • Eradicate of host plants such as neglected citrus, peach, and guava
  • Ensure your Mango orchard is clean at all times, whether the tree is dormant, flowering, or is in full production.
  • Trap the mango fruit flies using sticky traps to determine their population density
  • Use poison-bait applications regularly. Protein hydrolysate or molasses mixed with Malathion, Trichlorfon, Fenitrothion or Fenthion. The bait is applied in large drops at a rate of 200—1000 ml/tree, depending on tree size. It is not necessary to wet the whole tree; only part of the foliage needs to be covered.
  • Spray pesticides weekly to control the adult Mango fruit flies in orchards.

Mango seed weevil

The mango weevil, Sternochetus mangiferae (F), is a common pest in Kenya. You can find the mango pest in all mango-growing areas in Kenya.   Because the weevil develops within the mango seed, the mango pest is spread easily by transportation of infested fruits. The mango weevil does not usually damage the fruit and consequently is not a serious pest as far as local consumption of the fruit is concerned.

However, this pest hinders the development of the mango fruit export market because the leading import countries in the Middle East and other places maintain strict quarantine regulations. Infestation symptoms of this mango pest are most apparent within the seed where the weevil mainly completes its life cycle.

How the Weevil Affects a Mango Fruit

From the outside, the infected fruits appear healthy but very often rot from the inside. The female usually lays her eggs over a period of 5—6 weeks on fruits when the fruits are half-grown. In three to five days, the eggs hatch into larvae. The young larvae penetrate the fruit and eat their way to the seed where they feed and develop into adult weevils.

These mango pests then emerge from the stone by tunneling outwards through the flesh and skin of the fruit,

leaving an unsightly patch where rotting soon sets in. Once the weevils go the fruit, they search for a hiding place such as beneath loose bark of trees or in the waste material under the trees where they spend the time of the year that is unfavorable for them.

To date, chemical control measures against this mango pest have proved uneconomical. However, implementing the following three steps will definitely reduce the weevil population in the orchard.

Control of the Mango Seed Weevil

Sanitation of orchard and yard

The most significant source of mango seed weevil infestation is dropped fruits or seeds lying around in which Weevils can survive up to about 300 days. Therefore, regular removal and destruction of waste material up to the end of the harvesting period is very important and useful.

Treatment of trunk and branches

The most suitable stage for control is during the emergence and oviposition of the adult weevil. The first step to suppress the weevil population is implemented at the beginning of the mango flowering season by using preferably long-lasting contact insecticides such as Azinphos, Endosulfan, Malathion, and Fenthion. It is important to thoroughly wet (by spraying) the bark of the trunk and scaffold branches or brushes the insecticide mixed with a suitable carrier on to the bark.

Fruit treatment

After fruit set, focus your insecticide spraying on only fruits using Carbosulfan, Malathion, Azinphos, etc. mixed with a spreader/sticker liquid. Repeat applications at intervals of 2—3 weeks and combine this with the control of anthracnose.

Occasional Mango Pests

Usually, mango is attacked by three to four key mango pests—fruit fly, mango weevil, and gall midge—which require annual control measures.

However, some occasional pests become troublesome in specific areas or because of the change in weather or unusual circumstances. These pests include mites, thrips, scales, cecid fly, and mealybugs. The good news is these pests you can control these mango pests through pesticides.