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The red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier (Curculionidae/Rhynchophoridae/Dryophthoridae) is a lethal pest of young coconut palms, Cocos nucifera L. (Arecales: Arecaceae), with a highly aggregated population distribution pattern. R. ferrugineus is managed in several coconut growing countries using area-wide pheromone based programmes that need a substantial commitment of funds over a period of time. Often, decisions to implement area-wide management of R. ferrugineus are based on pheromone trap captures in surveillance traps and or infestation reports. Implementing area-wide management of this pest on the basis of such data can be inaccurate, as it may either under or over estimate the pest intensity in the field. This study presents sampling plans for rapid and accurate classification of R. ferrugineus infestation in coconut plantations of India by inspecting palms to detect infestation in a sequence until a decision to either implement or not to initiate area-wide management of R. ferrugineus can be made. The sampling plans are based on a common aggregation index of 3.45, assumed action threshold values of either 1.0 (plan A) or 0.5 (plan B) per cent infested palms and a risk factor of making the wrong decision set at 0.05. Using plans A and B, if the cummulative number of infested palms in a young 1 hectare coconut plantation is zero out of 150 palms for both plans, then area-wide management is not required, while on the other hand, if the cummulative number of infested palms for the same area is 6 (plan A), or 5 (plan B), then area-wide management of R. ferrugineus is essential. The proposed sampling plans are efficient tools in decision making, particularly at very low and high levels of infestation and can also be used to assess the performance of R. ferrugineus IPM programmes that are in progress. These plans not only save time and money as only a small area needs to be sampled to arrive at a correct decision, but are also efficient in rating the infestation level accurately.
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