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Insect management

The losses due to insect pests are much higher in the case of pulses than these in the cereal grains.

It is not reasonable to expect that millions of small and marginal farmers will buy their own dusters and sprayers and other equipment for the application of pesticides in their small fields. These operations have to be organised on a community basis with the help of specially created service agencies for this purpose, it is also worth mentioning here about the damage occured during storage. Small storage devices for villages can save the damage to pulses from insect pests.


Bruchus sp beetles

About 15 per cent damage to gram grain is estimated to be caused by the beetles, Bruchus chinensis and Bruchus theobroma, which while feeding scoop out the contents of grains.
The female beetle lays eggs on the grain and on emergence the larva feeds on the testa, subsequently boring into the pulse and pupating within the damaged portion of the grain.
The adult emerges out of the pupa and begins to feed on the grain.
The size of the adult beetle depends upon the size of the infested portion of the pulse.
The pulse beetles assume serious proportions usually during July-August in the stores.
Periodical exposure of the grains to sun helps to check infestations.

Cut Worm

This is caused by Agrotis ipsilon (Rott.) Besides A. ipsilon, other species known to damage gram are A.flammatra schiff, A.biconica Koll, A.segetum, and A. spinifera H.

Agrotis ipsilon Cutworm larva
Agrotis ipsilon (Adult) Cutworm larva

The larvae cut the plants at the base, below or just above the soil surface or may even cut branches.
A characteristic feature of the damage is that the caterpillars drag the cut parts into soil for feeding.
The buried stem or branches is almost the sure index of the place where the caterpillar is hiding.
Cutworms can be controlled by dusting aldrin (5%) at 20 to 25 kg/ha.
Adult insects can be controlled by light traps.

Pod Borer

Male (left) and Female (right) moths of Helicoverpa armigera H. armigera eggs on chickpea leaves
H. armigera feeding on leaves H. armigera feeding on pods

This is caused by Heliothis armigera Hb (or Heliothis absoleta). The pod borer is a serious pest of gram. It also attacks arhar (Cajanus cajan) and other crops.

Control measures

Cultural methods:
Recommended doses of fertilisers should be applied.
Sow 3-4 lines of maize (or) Jowar around the cotton crop to monitor the moth.
Sow trap crops like marigold at 50 plants/acre along with cotton.
Inter crops like, Green gram, Black gram, Groundnut, Soybean should be sown.
Clipping of terminal shoots on 100 days of crop growth.
Physical methods:
  Collection and destruction of eggs on trap crop as well as main crop.
  Collection and destruction of larvae on trap crop as well as main crop.
Mechanical Methods:
Use of pheromone traps (4 traps/acre) for pest intensity identification as well as to trap the male moths.
Arrange 10-bird perches/acre.
Setting of light traps (1 light trap/5 acre) to know the range of pest incidence as well as to kill moth population.
Biological methods:
Trichograma pretiosum attacks on eggs of Heliothis.
Release Trichogramma parasites at the rate of 20,000/acre.
Eucelatoria byrani; Carcelia illota attacks on larvae of Heliothis.
Bacillus thuringenisis (soil bacteria)
NPV (virus)
Beauveria bassiana (fungi)
Nomuraea rileyi (fungi)
NPV: NPV 200 LE + ½ kg Jaggery + 200ml Sandovit (or) Teepal; mixing and spray in the evening hours only. Note: NPV is more effective in cloudy weather.

This is caused by Odontotermes obesus Ramb or Microtermes abesi Heomgr. Termites are subterranean pests which are more common to the relatively dry tracts especially in sandy and sandy loam soils of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

These appear soon after sowing and damage both seed and seedlings.
The attack may continue to the standing crop also especially during the period of drought.
The attacked plants in younger stage wither away and die, whereas the grown up plants die slowly.
Such plants, if uprooted, will show the presence of termites and their galleries on damaged plants.
The completely damaged plants are pulled easily.


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