At our organic mango farms in Ratnagiri, the mangoes are getting ready and the fruit is now on the trees, ranging in size from a pea to a tennis ball. This is also the time when a variety of thieves are looking to make the most of the mangoes on the trees. The various threats are different kind of insects, pests, birds and monkeys. Some of them just eat the fruit, some inject their larvae into the flesh while others cause fungal growth. Each of them are harmful to the fruit and need to be countered in different ways.
The solar insect catcher allows us to check on a daily basis which insects are present in the farms. The functioning is quite simple – it has a solar battery which charges throughout the day and the light starts shining for a fixed time during the early evening (twilight when maximum number of insects are prevalent). The insects are attracted to the light, and fall into the water. The next morning our team at the farm can see the insects and decide appropriate counter measures for the same. Even if the culprit is not caught directly, the predator or prey may be caught indicating to us the presence of the culprit. For instance stem borer weevil may not be caught but its predator will be, similarly the birds may not be caught but the insects they feed on which would attract the birds, will be caught.
Since we do not use any chemical treatments in our farms, we do not have a fixed pesticide spraying pattern, frequency or system. Our pesticides are all 100% organic and natural and are sprayed based on changing weather patterns, season, maturity of the plant & fruit and feedback from tools such as the solar insect catcher. We have one of these in each of our farm locations and it will helps us assess better the potential threats to the mango tree and prepare better for the same.