Integrated Pest Management for Major Date Palm Pests in Iraq
The proliferation of date palm pests and the severity of infestation vary according to the pest species, age of the tree and the dominating environmental conditions.
The following pests are classified as key pests because of their wide presence and the severe economic damage they can cause to the date palms and fruits:
- Dubas bug: Dubas bug is an endemic pest that has pervaded palm groves in Iraq, for over a century. Infestation varies between provinces and regions within the same province. Temporal variation has also recorded for this pest. Heavy infestation is mainly found in central Iraq, including the provinces of Karbala, Babel, Baghdad, Diyala and Wasit. Infestation in the provinces of the Middle Euphrates and the southern area (Najaf, Diwaniyah, Samawah) are categorized as moderate, whereas in the provinces of Salahuddin and Al-Anbar, they are still limited.
- Humara (Lesser Date Moth - LDM): this pest is found in almost all date palm growing regions.
Date palm borers: Borers do not differ in their importance and severity from other serious date palm pests. Their significance- aside from the direct injuries they impose on plants -arises from the difficulty of their control as they lurk in hidden places with no efficient pesticides to reach them. The development of a reliable IPM program against these pests is considered a big challenge. The following are the most important species of date palm borers in the country.
- Long horn stem borer
- Bunch borer
- Frond borer
- Dust mite: found in many areas, it affects the late fruit stages.
- Other pests: such as scale insects, insects of mature and stored fruits, as well as fungal diseases such as Almajnoona (black blight) and inflorescence rot are classified as secondary or less important pests. However, given appropriate environmental conditions, these pests may become principal pests that belong to the major pests category.