Cecid fly control: A comprehensive approach to protecting mango yields

Cecid fly damage on mango fruits. (Judgefloro/Wikimedia Commons)


The cecid fly (Procantarinia spp.), is a significant pest that affects mango trees in the Philippines. The cecid fly belongs to the Cecidomyiidae family and is commonly referred to as mango midge, leaf gall midge, gall fly, or mango leaf gall. It is considered a major pest of mango trees in the Philippines, specifically targeting the young leaves and fruits of the trees.

Characteristics of cecid fly

The adult cecid fly resembles a small mosquito with a yellow-orange body and a black head. Adult males measure approximately 1.61 mm, while females average around 1.32 mm in size. The adult lifespan of the Cecid fly ranges from 1 to 2 days.

The life cycle of the cecid fly consists of several stages: egg, larva, and pupa. The eggs are laid on the surface of the fruit or leaves and typically hatch within 1 to 2 days. Once hatched, the newly emerged larvae bore into the fruit skin or young leaves, forming galls. They feed on the internal tissues of the fruit or leaves and remain inside for approximately 4 to 5 days before emerging to pupate. Pupation occurs in the soil, and after 2 to 3 days, the adult fly emerges from the pupa to continue the life cycle.

Damage caused by cecid fly

The cecid fly infests young leaves and fruits approximately 32 to 70 days after flower induction. The damage caused by this pest is characterized by the galling of young leaves. Infested fruits exhibit circular, brown scab-like spots randomly distributed on the fruit surface. These damages are commonly known as “buti,” “nora-nora,” “armalite,” “kurikong,” or “saksak walis” among growers. The scabby lesions caused by infestation persist until harvest, significantly affecting the quality of the fruits.

Preventive measures

To effectively prevent and manage cecid fly infestations, several measures are recommended. First, it is essential to collect and dispose of damaged fruits properly. This practice helps break the life cycle of the cecid fly and reduces its population. Early bagging of fruits at 40 to 45 days after flower induction provides protection against cecid fly infestation.

Underbrushing and clearing of surroundings are crucial to eliminate potential habitats for the cecid fly. Regular smudging in the early morning and afternoon during the early fruit development stage can help repel the insect. Pruning trees to allow light penetration into the canopy discourages adult cecid flies from settling on the trees. Monitoring weather conditions, especially high relative humidity and intermittent rain, is vital as such conditions favor the development of the cecid fly. 

Setting up traps in the field to monitor the adult population can be beneficial. Traps can be made using half of a gallon capacity plastic container painted black with a transparent polyethylene plastic receptacle, oiled on the inside. The use of a magnifying glass or stereo microscope helps accurately identify the insects caught in the traps.

Cecid fly infestation poses a significant threat to mango trees in the Philippines. Understanding the biology of the pest and implementing preventive measures, growers can minimize the damage caused by this pest. Following the recommended preventive measures, such as proper disposal of damaged fruit, early bagging of fruits, underbrushing and clearing of surroundings, smudging, pruning of trees, and monitoring weather conditions, can help safeguard mango crops and ensure the production of high-quality fruits.

The guide is available from the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry – National Mango Research and Development Center.

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