The Ultimate Guide to Battling Guava Pests and Diseases: From Foes to Feast

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Article on Guava Pest and Diseases

Guava (Psidium guajava) is a common tropical fruit cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions, which is known as the poor man’s apple. It yields heavily with little input.

In many countries, the fruit is eaten raw and sold as a popular snack in many street corners and night markets. Because of its high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, marmalade, and juices. Guava is rich in dietary fibre and vitamin C with moderate levels of folic acid.

In India, guava occupies an area of 2.03 lac hectares with an annual production of 22.7 lacs MT. It is one of the most important commercial fruits in India, fourth most important after mango, banana, and citrus. Major guava-producing states include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh.

Karnataka stands ninth in production 138.8 (MT) with an area of 7.2 (‘000 ha). The properly-known varieties are Allahabad Safeda, L-49, Araka Mridula, Araka Amulya, Bangalore, Dharwad, and Arka Kiran, the crop is quite hardy and a prolific bearer. It is considered a highly remunerative crop even with less input application. Therefore, the cultivation of the crop is picking up in Karnataka on a commercial basis.

Concerning Pest and diseases about 177 pathogens are reported on various parts of the guava plant or associated with guava fruit of which, 167 are fungal, 3 bacterial, 3 algal & 3 nematodes.  The below article highlights three major Pest and diseases of guava Root, not Nematodes, Canker, and Fruit Fly.

1.Guava Root Not Nematode

The worst nematode problem affecting guava is that created by root-knot nematode, which is a recognized limiting factor in commercial guava production areas. The nematode was identified as Meloidogyne enterolobii (synonym M. mayaguensis) and commonly this species has been misidentified as M. incognita or Meloidogyne spp. M. enterolobii, an emerging species of Meloidogyne, is currently considered to be one of the most damaging nematode species in many countries because the nematode has a wide geographical distribution and wide host ranges. It is considered that the nematode might have spread from other countries through saplings.


Moderate infestations are associated with general yellowing, chlorosis, nutrient deficiency symptoms drying of branches, and reduced flowering and fruiting. Roots of infected trees show multiple galls and root necrosis, causing a drastic decrease in fine roots. The root-knot nematode infects the whole root system, from small rhizoids to more lignified pivotant roots. Severely infected trees decline rapidly, culminating in the death of the plants, the decline and death of guava trees parasitized by Meloidogyne enterolobii is a complex disease involving other fungi Species of Fusarium solani. Verticillium & Pythium. The unseen hidden enemies of root-knot nematode associated with guava can kill the trees outright within three months after the onset of symptoms.  This syndrome is making the cultivation of guava in the infested areas unfeasible, causing serious economic problems for growers and the economy of the region.


Therefore, the guava growers are requested to avoid nematode-affected saplings, remove and destroy nematode-affected trees, applying farm yard manure @ 10 to 15 kg, Multiplex Annapurna 2-5 kg/ plant,  Multiplex Mahan @ 250g and Multiplex Safe Root (nematode egg parasitic fungus Paecilomyces lilacinus+ Trichoderma harzianum) @ 30g, Multiplex Trishul(VAM) @30g/tree and Bayer Velum Prime 500 ml/acre drenching 2 to 3 Liters per plants at early stage of nematode infestation to overcome the nematode problem and to enhance fruit.

2. Guava Canker

Fruit canker caused primarily by Pestalotia psidii and associated with other fungi Colletotrichum psidii was first recorded from Bombay and later from Mysore followed by Thane, Dharwad, Pune, Himachal Pradesh, and Lucknow. 

Symptomatology and Damage:

The disease generally occurs on green fruits and rarely on leaves. The first evidence of infection on fruit is the appearance of minute, brown, or rust coloured, unbroken, circular, necrotic areas, which in the advanced stage of infection, tear open the epidermis in a circinate manner. The margin of the lesion is elevated, and a depressed area is noticeable inside. The crater-like appearance is more noticeable on fruits than on leaves. The canker is confined to a very shallow area and does not penetrate deep into the flesh of the fruit.

In older cankers, white mycelium consisting of numerous spores is noticeable. Canker on the green fruits of different varieties exhibit considerable differences in their appearance. In severe cases, raised, cankerous spots develop in great numbers and the fruits break open to expose seeds. The infected fruits remain underdeveloped, become hard, malformed, and mummified, and drop in great numbers. Sometimes small rusty brown angular spots appear on the leaves. In winter the cankerous spots are common but in the rainy season minute red specks are formed.


The spread of disease (in early stage of infection) is controlled by 3 to 4 spraying at One-month interval of Cuprofix 3 g/liter + Bactinash 0.3 g/litre or Kocide 2g/litre +Bactinash 0.3 g/litre or Multiplex Jodi 2 g/liter +  Bactinash 0.3 g/litre or Nagcopper 3 g/liter + Bactinash 0.3 g/litre, or Multiplex Biojodi 5 g/litre + Mahapal 3 ml/Litre +Mulitplex Biostike 2ml/Liter at 15 days interval.

3. Guava fruit fly

Fruit fly Bactrocera correcta (Bezzi), often referred to as the "guava fruit fly" is the major limiting factor in obtaining a good quality of fruits and vegetables and is known to cause considerable losses. Fruit flies are one of the most diversified and noxious pests on a wide range of tropical and sub-tropical fruits and vegetables. Fruit flies are considered as a highly destructive pest of guava fruit production causing yield losses and quality degradation of the produce. It is recorded, that crop losses caused by fruit fly ranging from 20-80 percent usually depend upon the crop locality, season, and variety.


  1. correcta has been recorded in India from Pusa (Bihar); Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli Tamil Nadu; Bangalore, Bijapur, Hagari (Karnataka); South Gujarat; Bilaspur (Madya Pradesh); Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab. Further overseas the flies have recorded their presence in Thailand, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and other western countries.

Symptoms and Damage:

During the ripening of fruits, it starts emitting a pungent, musky odour that attracts fruit flies. Adult female fruit flies have a needle-like ovipositor with which they puncture the skin of fruits to lay their eggs in the flesh. causing blemishes and discoloration and after completion of the incubation period, maggots have emerged that feed on the flesh and the resulting damage causes rotting due to microbial (fungi or bacteria) decay of the flesh. When the guava fruit is squeezed, the tiny punctures that leak juice from the surface indicate the infestation. At first, the oviposition marks are difficult to detect but within one to two days the eggs hatch, and oviposition marks appear as a distinct spot with a brownish patch around the puncture site. Damaged fruits are unfit for human consumption. Damage symptoms do not vary on different crops.


The biology of fruit flies differs on the climatic conditions, availability of preferred host, and natural bioagents. Larvae have a characteristic jumping pattern of movement which serves as a defence mechanism.  Adults generally mate at dusk.


The adult females lay their eggs after searching for the suitable soft tissue of fruit. A female can lay 10–30 eggs during each oviposition and can lay more than 1200 eggs during its lifespan using her needle-like sharp ovipositor.  The egg is creamy white, spindle-shaped, and measuring about 1 mm in length.


The maggot is a creamy white that causes damage to fruits by tunneling and feeding on the pulpy content of the fruits.  The maggots feed on the decaying fruit tissue. There are three larval stages and the period ranges from 10-14 days.


Upon completion of larval feeding, the third instar larvae burrow into the soil and pupate inside a puparium at a depth of 6 cm.  This transition from feeding to wandering occurred when the larva attained a critical nutritional or developmental status.


After 8-10 days, adult flies emerge from the puparium and dig their way out of soil or debris.  Adults fed on the host plants to obtain nutrient materials from nectar, dew, and fruit.  By feeding on the host plants, the flies attain sexual maturity within 10-20 days and mate together to start a new cycle of damage.

Total developmental period:

The total life cycle ranged from about 1-2 months. Being facultative breeders and having a short life cycle, fruit flies are multivoltine having more than one generation per year. B. dorsalis can complete 3-5 generations per year.  It completes 5-10 generations in a year in tropical areas and less than 4 in subtropical areas.


The management of fruit flies is challenging because third-instar larvae leave decaying fruits and drop to the ground to pupate in the soil; consequently, both larvae and pupae in fruits and soils are just like shelter that prevents reach of applied insecticides against target stages of a fruit fly.

Field Sanitation:

Picking infected/premature fruits from the ground should be taken far away and buried deeply in the soil.      

Pheromone Traps:

Scientists from the Research and product development laboratory of GPS Institute of Agricultural Management, Bengaluru developed traps that are fortified with herbal Ocimum. It is the rainfast, slow-release lure, with a field life of 90 days. The yellow transparent traps are specifically designed to enhance trap catch.  Once traps are installed in the field during the season there is no need to replace lure blocks, unlike other traps in the market. 

Using of Aakarshan traps

  1. Wear the provided gloves.
  2. Per acre 6 traps should be tied at an isolated distance,
  3. Cut the pouch and place one plywood piece (Lure) in each yellow trap.
  4. Pass the provided thread through holes in the plastic wrap and close the lid.
  5. Tie the trap to the side branch of the tree firmly about 3 to 6 feet above the ground level.
  6. Avoid contact with eyes and skin.
  7. Add 2-3 drops of Multiplex Brave (Dichlorvos)/ any other insecticide once in two weeks using an ink filler, to enhance the catch.
  8. Follow the placement plan of planning six nos. of traps per acre as per the diagram sketch.
  9. Multiplex spectral-enhanced fruit fly trap gives the best results.
  10. If rainwater accumulates in the TRAPS, it can be drained through the vents by gently tilting the trap. The lures are sufficiently rain fast and can withstand rains, provided, after the traps are drained of the water through side vents.

Spaying of Chemical Insecticides:

Spraying Nagfen (Fenvalerate 20% EC) @2ml/litre fumigant or Larvin (Thiodicarb 75% WP) @ 2ml/liter Ovicidal and Larvicidal + With Multineem @ 2ml/litre Organic Spray having multiple actions Like Repellent, Ovicidal and Larvicidal properties.


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