Farm Doctor, Steve Fukuda conducted a field visit on May 25, 2012 to follow up with growers experiencing problems with their basil crops. Samples were submitted to UH CTAHR. Dr. Mike Melzer, CTAHR pathologist, confirmed on the presence of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). The TSWV is typically spread by the insect vector, thrips.
Symptoms of TSWV on basil
Mealy bug samples were also collected and submitted to UH CTAHR Entomologist, Dick Tsuda. The mealy bugs were identified as madeira mealybug. The maderia mealy bug is not a new pest in the islands and is known to attack sweet basil.
Thanks to Dr. John Hu, Dr. Wayne Borth, Dr. Mike Melzer and Dick Tsuda for the timely identifications and updates. LIFE will continue to work with basil growers to obtain a better understanding of priority issues regarding crop production and develop a strategic plan for educational support.