The oil palm bunch moth, Tirathaba mundella, is becoming an oil palm bunch feeding pest of significant economic importance especially on peat soil in Sarawak. The goal of this research was to investigate the cultural control effect of field ablation on heavily infested young mature oil palm planted on peat by T. mundella. From the field census carried out at bimonthly interval after three rounds of field ablation, the ablated fields consistently showed significantly high new T. mundella infestation, 41.63% at week 20, 13.24% at week 28 and 7.68% at 36 weeks after three rounds of field ablation for oil palm fruit bunches category as compared to only 17.21%, 4.78% and 4.55% in the control fields within the same monitoring period. Besides that, the mean larvae count obtained from ablated fields at week 20 was 28.68 which was also significantly higher than that obtained from the control field at only 12.84 larvae. At week 20, the mean T. mundella larvae count and mean percentage of new infestation in ablated plots were 123.44% and 141.89% higher than control, respectively. Both detailed field census and random field sampling results suggested that there was no significant effect of three rounds of field ablation in reducing T. mundella proliferation and larvae density in actual field conditions. Therefore, field ablation could not be proven to be an effective control measure to manage the initial pest density and proliferation in the actual young mature oil palm fields especially when those fields were heavily infested. Other means of control methods should therefore be further explored to effectively control the pest, which at the same time is environmental-friendly to maintain a balanced oil palm ecosystem.
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia. E-mail:
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