Cacao swollen shoot virus

Class: Viruses

Common Name

Cacao swollen shoot virus and CSSV

Potential Hosts


Who am I?

Cacao swollen shoot virus is primarily transmitted by different species of mealybugs that feed on the sap of cacao trees.

Female adult mealybugs can crawl across branches of overlapping trees and spread the virus. Although, even relatively distant trees are in danger of infection; ants are attracted to honeydew secretions produced by feeding mealybug and can move the mealybugs great distances. Once infected, trees are usually killed within several years.

Symptoms are diverse and will vary from one cacao variety to another. They can include discoloration of foliage, reddening of young leaf veins, chlorosis, small distorted pods, swelling of stems, and die back.

Control measures

Eradication of infected trees is the most widely used means of control. Alternative hosts, such as Cola gigantea, must be removed from the field.

Controling the vector

Using traps to monitor: Monitoring systems can help decide when to apply insecticides. Population levels can be reduced or controlled by mass trapping, mating disruption, and lure and kill. The success of these methods depends on the availability of the pheromone and its quality.

Controlling ants: Other than assisting in the spread and establishment of mealybug colonies, ants can have a suppressive effect on natural mealybug enemies.

Sanitation: Keep the crops’ close surroundings and environmental conditions neat by removing weeds and plant debris as much as possible.

Conventional (chemical)

Chemical controls can be used to suppress mealybug vectors. High populations of mealybugs are correlated with high infection rates.

The following are generic names of products used in one or more parts of the world: imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, acetamiprid, thiachloprid, sulfoxaflor, dichlorvos, spirotetramat, buprofezine, chlorpyrifos, and synthetic terepenes extract of chenopodium.


Neem oil, tea-tree oil, mineral oil and detergents\soaps designed especially for agricultural usage.

Caution and careful notice should be taken when using any plant protection products (insecticides, fungicides and Herbicides). It is the grower’s sole responsibility to keep track after the legal uses and permissions with respect to the laws in their country and destination markets. Always read the Instructions written on the label and in any case of contradiction work with accordance to the product label. Keep in mind that information written on the label usually apply only to local markets. Pests control products intended for organic farming are generally considered to be less effective in comparison to conventional product. One must keep in mind that when dealing with organic, biologic, and to some extent, a small number of conventional chemical products that a complete eradication of a pest or a disease will often require several iterations of a specific treatment or combination of treatments.

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