A team of experts, including entomologists, from University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, and College of Forestry at Ponnampet in Kodagu, are expected to visit the coffee plantation at Kolakeri near Napoklu in Kodagu after Monday where locusts were found feeding on coffee plant leaves and shoots.

Experts decided to visit the Kundyolanda Ramesh Muddaiah’s plantations where grasshoppers were found a couple of days ago. The Hindu had reported it.

R.N. Kencharaddi, entomologist from College of Forestry in Ponnampet in Kodagu, told The Hindu on Saturday that two more experts from the UAS, Bangalore, would be part of the team that would visit the plantations either on Monday or Tuesday to assess the insects and its impact on the coffee plants. The insects resembling locusts were seen feeding on leaves and shoots of coffee plants. Mr. Kencharaddi said that similar grasshoppers were found in swarms in the region of Gonicoppa, Kaikeri, Srimangala and surrounding areas in Virajpet taluk a couple of years ago. They were long-horned insects which did not feed on any plant.

The expert who studies insects said that if grasshoppers possessed short-horns they had a tendency to feed on foliage. However, only a visit to the plantation would reveal the nature of the insects and the extent of damage, he said. Samples of the insects, too, would be collected by the team for further verification, he said.

Mr. Muddaiah told The Hindu on Saturday that the menace had come down after taking up scraping of weeds under the coffee plants. The insects were both green and brown coloured and small in size. However, they were seen only in and around a few plantations in Kolakeri village, he confirmed. His labourers who visited the plantations in the night noticed that the insects fed on leaves. They would hide behind the leaves during the day and become active in the nights. Mr. Muddaiah confirmed that the incident was noticed for the first time in the surroundings of Kolakeri.

He had apprised the Coffee Board officials of the problems but they were yet to respond.

Mr. Muddaiah appealed to the District Administration and the Coffee Board to intervene and find a solution to the problem. He welcomed the proposed visit of the team of experts and said it could help resolve the problem.

They will arrive either on Monday or Tuesday to assess the insects

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