To Fight Cecid Fly, He Said In Jest He Burned The Whole Mountain

Ricardo Toentino told the attendees of the mango summit that he burned the whole mountain to eliminate cecid fly. He was exaggerating. He actually did the burning but only a small portion of the mountain – under the canopy of the mango tree where the cecid fly is hibernating.

You can not fight the cecid fly by spraying more and more pesticides. That’s the advice of Dr. Celia de la Rosa Medina, professor and researcher at the UPLB, who spoke before attendees of the First Luzon Mango Summit in Quezon City on Feb.19, 2020. The cecid fly, of course, is the culprit that causes the Kurikong that has wreaked havoc on the mango crop in Luzon this season.

She said that frequent spraying could build the insect’s resistance to pesticides. At the same time it could kill the other insects that had been providing check on the proliferation of cecid fly. And once the cecid fly had become resistant, it could multiply very fast, causing more misery for the poor mango farmers.

Not all insecticides approved by the FPA for use in mango can kill the cecid fly, according to Dr. Eric Divinagracia of the fertilizer and pesticide regulating agency. Divinagracia said there are only three brands so far approved for cecid fly control. So if the mango farmer would spray insecticides not for cecid fly control, his spray would just go to waste.

Ricardo Tolentino, the Mango King from Ilocos Norte, told the audience that he had done something illegal to control cecid fly. He told the audience in jest that he burned the whole mountain to eliminate the pesky cecid fly. Well, he resorted to burning but not the entire mountain. Only a small portion of it.

Researchers have found that the ccid fly can hibernate for long periods on the ground under the canopy of the mango tree. What Tolentino did was to spray gasoline under the canopy of the tree and then ignite it. Tolentino swears that the technique works wonders. A more economical but more labor intensive technique, he said, is to use blowtorch to kill the hibernating cecid fly. Burning could be done during the summer months.

Meantime, Tolentino has resorted to processing his mangoes affected by Kurikong. He is producing a very chewy and not so sweet dried mango with the brand name Mango King Dried Mango. He is also producing mango wine and vinegar. 

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