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Pumpkin Caterpillar

Insect

Diaphania indica


In a Nutshell

  • Rolled leaves with silken threads.
  • Holes in developing fruits.

Symptoms

The young larva scrapes the chlorophyll content off the leaves. Later on, it folds and webs the leaves. Caterpillars also attack the flowers and developing fruits. They damage the skin, causing the fruits to rot. Due to scraping, the leaves dry up at later stages. Under severe infestation, holes can be observed in developing fruits.

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Hosts

Trigger

Damage is caused by the young larva of the caterpillar. The adult moth has transparent whitish wings with dark broad marginal patches and the females have a tuft of orange-coloured hairs at the anal end. Eggs are laid individually or in groups on the lower side of leaves for 3-4 days. The caterpillar usually appears elongated with a longitudinal streak pair along the mid-dorsal line. The caterpillar reaches adulthood in about 10 days.

Organic Control

Apply biopesticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis and Beauveria bassiana. Use plant-derived products such as neem, Derris, Pyrethrum and chilli. Encourage the activity of parasitoids such as Apanteles spp. Spray a diluted mixture of water and cow urine to ward off insects.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments, if available. Spray insecticides such as malathion (50 EC @ 500 ml/ha), dimethoate (30 EC @ 500 ml/ha) or methyl demeton (25 EC @ 500 ml/ha). Another option is to use insecticides containing cyantraniliprole.

Preventive Measures

  • Monitor young leaves for the presence of veins, but in-between parts have been eaten.
  • Look for droppings in between the leaves.
  • Collect and destroy early stage caterpillars.
  • Remove the rolled leaves and kill the caterpillars that are inside by squeezing.

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