SEASONAL INCIDENCE AND INJURIOUS STATUS OF RAOIELLA INDICA (HIRST) (ACARI: TENUIPALPIDAE) ON ARECANUT PALMS OF KOZHIKODE DISTRICT OF KERALA
Areca nut (Areca catechu L.) is an important cash crop in India and it is susceptible to infestation by an array of insect and non insect pests, of which mites, especially species like Raoiella indica induces heavy infestation on palms of the nursery stage as well as and young palms. R. indica, the so called Red palm mite (RPM) is an important sucking pest on young areca nut palms during hot dry weather. This polyphagous mite spreads rapidly through the Neotropical region where the mite damages economically and ecologically important plants. In the present study, field sampling of RPM was conducted monthly, from March, 2013 to August, 2013 on areca palms cultivated in the Kozhikode district of North Kerala, India to study its incidence, distribution pattern and injurious status on areca palms. Significantly higher population densities of RPM could be recorded on areca palm, attaining peak population during April / May. High population of RPM was observed on the bottom frond leaf than the middle and top leaves.