- Brinjal

Brinjal Brinjal

Budworm

Insect

Scrobipalpa sp.


In a Nutshell

  • Shriveling and shedding of flower buds and top shoots.
  • Drooping and withering of leaves.
  • Exhibit dead heart symptom.

Symptoms

Symptoms are observed on buds, flowers, and stems of the plant. Top shoots of plants infested at an early growth stage will droop and wither. Older plants become stunted. Shriveling and shedding of flower buds severely affect the fruit-bearing process. Leaves show withered and dried appearance. Bore holes are located on shoots and fruits, plugged with excreta. By boring the shoots, the budworm causes withering of terminal shoots, which is referred to as dead hearts.

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Hosts

Trigger

The main damage is caused by the larvae of Scrobipalpa (Blapsigona species). The moths are medium sized with whitish to copper red fringed wings. The forewings are whitish brown, the hindwings are pale grey and more or less whitish tinged. Initially, their larvae appear pale with pink tinge dark brown head and chest and develop to brown caterpillars. It bores itself into stems of seedlings and feeds on internal tissues. This causes stem galls, sprouted side branches, stunted or distored growth and withered plants. When the budworm bores into flower buds, it will cause the flower to drop off and in turn, the plant cannot produce many fruits. These caterpillars normally feed late in the day and are also considered as an important pest in tobacco.

Organic Control

Parasitoids including Microgaster sp., Bracon kitcheneri, Fileanta ruficanda, Chelonus heliopa can be used to limit the budworm infestation. Encourage the activity of larval parasitoids like Prisomerus testaceus and Cremastus flacoorbitalis. Natural enemies like Broscus punctatus, Liogryllus bimaculatus should be promoted. Spray neem seed kernel extract @ 5% or Azadirachtin EC containing neem oil. Products based on pathogens Bacillus thuringiensis, Beauveria bassiana (entomopathogenic fungus) can be applied at first sight of the pest and should be repeated if necessary.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments, if available. Take action when 3 - 10% of young plants are damaged but avoid unnecessary spraying and broad-scale insecticides, as they may kill beneficial insects. Don't spray at the time of fruit maturing and harvest. Insecticides based on Chlorpyrifos, Emamectin benzoate, Flubendiamide, Indoxacarb can be applied to control the pest.

Preventive Measures

  • Monitor your crop twice a week, especially at the early stages of plant growth for eggs and larvae.
  • Generally, it is easier to detect and prevent a heavier infestation before the caterpillars bore themselves inside of the plant.
  • Pick and collect larvae and eggs per hand and destroy them.
  • To attract, monitor and kill the adult moths, pheromone traps (12/ha) and light traps (1/ha) should be installed.
  • By planting wildflowers and sorghum around your field, you attract natural enemies of the budworm.
  • Remove and destroy the affected plant parts and weeds (especially solanaceous weeds) from the seedbed and fields.
  • After harvest, uproot and burn the plant residues.
  • Fallow periods with solarisation are useful to break the life cycle.
  • Crop rotation is recommended, but avoid using tobacco (host plant).
  • Also, avoid planting tobacco in adjacent fields.

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