Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Medicinal Tree affected by a Bug

This year since March the neem trees all over Tamil Nadu (India) have a peculiar gloomy appearance unusually. They show dried up batches of brownish shoots on the canopy. Many people believe that this change is due to the wrath of the Goddess Mariamman who is said to reside on the neem tree. Others reason it for the unusual rainfall that occurred in February this year. But I say that it is due to Nature’s selection that has promoted a bug’s proliferation! Yes, the neem trees are affected by a bug called as Tea mosquito bug (Helopeltis antonii). This bug sucks out the sap of the tree tissues. Then the affected leaves become curled and dried up. This pest has been identified in neem trees by a ‘Pest surveillance programme '. (It is said that this pest usually attacks only Tea, Cashew or Coca). The application of “Non-chemical pest management’ can control this pest: removal of the affected parts and also the parts having the laid up eggs. A wonder nature of the neem tree is that its own (Neem) seed extract can kill these bugs! There are also natural enemies to these bugs – Weaver ants.

The neem tree is a wonder tree as it has wonder medicines for all, including for itself!

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