Report to the Government of Saudi Arabia on research in plant protection based on the work of H.E. Martin, FAO Entomologist.
Research on plant pests and diseases and their control in Saudi Arabia was undertaken at the Plant Protection Division, Research and Development Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Water, Riyadh, with particular emphasis on entomophagous insects and biological control. The activities covered were the preparation of a list of major agricultural insect pests and plant pathogens and a list of insect predators and parasites, observations on the life-histories and control of major pests and assistance in the development of plant pest control programmes. The insect pests damaging date-palm were Pseudophilus testaceus Gah., Oryctes elegan Prell, Batrachedra amydraula Meyr., Ephestia (Cadra) cautella (Wlk.), Parlatoria blanchardii (Targ) and Maconellicocous hirsutus (Green). The most important pests of Citrus found were Aonidiella orientalis (Newst.), Pinnaspis strachani (Cooley), Icerya purchasi Mask., Nipaecoccus vastator (Mask.), Papilio demoleus L., Phyllocnistis citrella Stnt., Ceratitis capitata (Wied.) and Aceria sheldoni (Ewing). Economically important pests recorded on lucerne were Tetranychus cinnabarinus (Boisd.), Thrips tabaci Lind., Therioaphis trifolii (Monell), Acyrthosyphon (Macrosiphum) pisum (Harris), Aphis craccivora Koch, caterpillars (mainly Autographa gamma (L.)) and Hypera postica (Gylk.) (variabilis (Hbst.)). The situation of field plant protection units was reviewed. It was recommended to increase trained staff, to improve maintenance and storage of plant protection equipment and pesticides, and to expand demonstration and extension activities.