Batocera rufomaculata DeGeer
Common name: Fig borer, tropical fig borer, mango stem borer.
Geographical distribution: South-East Asia, the Middle East, Iran, Turkey, Yemen, East Africa and Central America.
Morphology: The adults are 3-5 cm in length, dark with a fine greyish vestiture, pronotum with 2 kidney-shaped orange-yellow spots, the basal third of the elytra with numerous black tubercles, and several yellowish spots that are variable in number and shape. Fully grown larvae (grubs) are cream colored with a dark brown head, and are up to 10 cm long.
Life cycle: The female cuts an incision in twigs or in damaged tree bark and places its single eggs into these cuts, laying a total of about 250 eggs during late summer. On hatching the larvae tunnel into the trunk or branches, the frass falling from these borings collect in crevices below the hole or falls to the ground. Larval development often requires more than one year. The larvae bore through the sapwood and because of their size, these large tunnels adversely affect foliage and fruit production. Pupation takes place within the stem, the adult beetles emerging in late summer. They are nocturnal, may live for several months and can fly for long distances, facilitating their dispersal. The pest has only a single annual generation.
Economic importance: The fig borer is a serious pest of fig, mango, guava, jackfruit, pomegranate and walnut in different parts of the world. Infestations may lead to yield losses and even to the death of trees. Most damage is caused by the larvae that initially bore in the trees’ sub-cortex and later move deeper into the tree. Continuous tunnelling weakens the wood, causing branches to break and/or the main stem to collapse. The adults chew on green growing tips and on the bark of twigs.
Cultural control: Cleaning out the entry holes with an iron hook or wire and then plugging the holes with cotton wool soaked in kerosene oil, crude oil or formalin kills the larvae. Other methods involve cutting down infested trees, sawing off severely affected branches, and the removal of alternate host plants.
Chemical Control: The application of organophosphates to fig trees in late summer kills eggs and young larvae, but may also cause leaf and fruit burns. Neonicotinoids have successfully been used. Older larvae hiding in their borrows can be killed in situ by the injection of a volatile liquid or fumigant.
Ben-Yehuda, S., Dorchin, Y., Mendel, Z. 2000. Outbreaks of the fig borer Batocera rufomaculata and other cerambycids in fruit plantations in Israel. Alon Hanotea 54: 23–29 (in Hebrew with an English Abstract).
Peretz, I. and Avigdorov, A.1956. Experiments on the control of the tropical fig borer in Israel. FAO Plant Protection Bulletin 4: 132-135.
Tozlu, G. and Özbek, G. (2000). The tropical fig borer, Batocera rufomaculata, new for Turkey. Zoology in the Middle East 20: 121-124.
Upadhyay, S.K., Chaudhary, B. and Sapkota, B. 2013. Integrated management of mango stem borer (Batocera rufomaculata Dejan) in Nepal. Global Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Health Sciences 2: 132-135.