Shoot and fruit borer (Leucinodes orbonalis)
This is a very serious pest & results in more than 60 percent crop loss. Holes will be seen on the fruit & stem & plugged with its excreta. Even though the incidence of the pest is throughout the year, its more often seen in the monsoons. Heavy leaves drooping is also caused due to boring the stem.
Management : at every harvest, the damaged fruits must be separated from other fruits & destroyed. Also just before fruit setting, the drooping leaves must be pruned. Spraying the crops with cypermethrin @ 2 ml per litre is very effective. It is recommended to use a combination of cypermethrin with profenophos , as foliar spray @ 2 ml per litre & sprayed at an interval of every 25 to 20 days after flowering
Also certain resistant varieties like Punjab Barsati can be used.
Horn Moth (Acherontia styx)
Stout & large caterpillars with intricate designs with lateral yellow bands feed on the leaves gregariously. Even though it’s seen in patches, its very destructive.Management: best method is to collect & destroy the caterpillars manually, if the incidence is less or the crop are is less. However if it’s a serious problem, spraying with chloropyriphos @ 3 ml per litre for the first week of attack , followed by 2 ml per litre the following week is very effective. Chloropyriphos has very high mammalian toxicity & therefore it must not be indiscriminately used.
Photos and content by Pritham 'Heavy metal farmer' denzil dsouza