Abstract: Background and Objective: Cocoa pod borer (CPB) is the main pest of cacao. It can reduce cacao production by up to 80% in Indonesia particularly in Central Sulawesi. The aim of this study was to (a) Estimate the effects of Beauveria bassiana (B. bassiana ) fungi, Dolichoderus thoracicus (D. thoracicus) cacao black ant and cacao pruning in controlling CPB at cacao plantation and (b) Evaluate the presence of B. bassiana in the soil environment after application. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted at one-hectare cacao farm covering 833 cacao trees with 3×4 m planting space. A completely randomized design was applied with five treatments: (1) B. bassiana fungi (BBF), (2) cacao black ant (CBA), (3) Pruning+B. bassiana (Pr+BBF), (4) Pruning+cacao black ant (Pr+CBA) and (5) Control (C). All treatments had 3 replicates. A106 mL1 colony forming units of B. bassiana was used as initial inoculum to be propagated in the corn media. B. bassiana inoculum of 4 kg was mixed with 250 L of water and was applied each month during the research period. A one-way ANOVA was used to analyze the data followed by HSD test (p<0.01) to compare the mean. It measured the CPB infestation level, cocoa bean damage and cacao yield. Results: The application of both biocontrol agents was effective in reducing CPB infestation and cocoa bean damage leading to increased cacao yield compared to the single treatment of either biological agent or pruning. Interestingly after application, the B. bassiana was successfully detected at the soil top layer as soil fungi. The highest cacao production (2.14 t ha1) was obtained when biological agents were combined with pruning. Conclusion: This study has shown the effectiveness of B. bassiana and D. thoracicus when combined with pruning in controlling CPB and increasing cocoa yields.
Alam Anshary, Muhammad Basir-Cyio, Uswah Hasanah, Mahfudz , Shahabuddin Saleh, Nur Edy and Flora Pasaru, 2017. Applications of Biological Agents and Pruning Effectively Control Cocoa Pod Borer. Asian Journal of Crop Science, 9: 125-132.