Pod borer is a notorious pest of chickpea causing heavy damage to the crop. Yield loss due to pod borer is estimated at 21 per cent. The pest is reported to cause about 50 to 60 per cent damage to the chickpea pods.

Apart from chickpea the pest also attacks pigeonpea, sunflower, cotton, safflower, chilli, sorghum, groundnut, tomato and other agricultural and horticultural crops. It is a devastating pest of pulses and oilseeds.

Infestation

The infestation starts on chickpea usually a fortnight after germination and becomes serious just after the initiation of flower bud coupled with cloudy and humid weather.

Medium sized light brown moths measuring about 40 mm across the wings have a dark speck and dark area on the forewings.

Hind wings are light in colour with a dark patch at the outer end.

Females lay several small white eggs singly. Upon hatching in 3-4 days the caterpillars feed on the leaves for a short time and subsequently attack the pods.

A full-grown caterpillar is about 34 mm long, greenish to brownish in colour with scattered short white hairs and buries itself in the soil to make an earthen cell inside which it pupates. The life cycle is completed in about 30-45 days. The pest completes eight generations in a year.

Management

— Summer ploughing to expose the hidden stages of the pest to natural predation.

— Application of HaNPV at the rate of 100 LE per acre along with 0.5 per cent jaggery and 0.1 per cent boric acid at egg hatch stage and repeat at 15-20 days.

— Use of chemicals should comprise 0.6g methomyl 40 SP or 2.00 ml profenophos 50 EC per litre of water as ovicides.

— Use of pheromone traps at 4-5 traps/ha. Spraying neem seed kernel. Extract 5 per cent in the early stage.

— If the infestation is severe, new insecticide molecules like 0.3 ml indoxacarb 14.5 SC or 0.1 ml spinosad 45 SC or 0.75ml Navaluron 10 EC or 2.5ml chlorpyriphos 20 EC can be applied.

— Use of 4-5 bird perches to attract birds and sowing bhendi or marigold around the field as trap crops are most effective.

(D. N. Kambrekar, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Entomology, Regional Agricultural Research Station, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bijapur, email: kambrekardn@gmail.com, phone: 08352-230568)