Wheat Pests and their Management by agrifunda


Hi, welcome to agrifunda. today post on ‘Pests of Wheat and their Management’. So on the wheat over a dozen pests are recorded, which are causing economic damage. However only 3 to 4 pests are closely associated with the wheat and they are going to come regularly and cause the economic damage. We are looking at the nature of damage, the symptoms and also the eco-friendly management of these pests on wheat.


Wheat Pests and their Management by agrifunda


Wheat Pests and their Management :

So if you look at the wheat crop,  Some important pests like aphids, then pink stem borer and the shoot flies are found to be very closely associated, and cause the economic damage. The shoot flies is Atherigona species. There are several species of Atherigona which are known to occur and cause damage to the crop in the early stage of development. Normally these flies are going to attack the crop within 20 to 25 days of the crop growth period. And this fly is just similar to that of the housefly. So only thing on the abdomens, we do get the dark black spot. So it is the 4 dark black spots in case of the male or the 6 dark black spots in case of the female is the identifying character.

So this usually lay the eggs on the leaf singly, and the maggots which are creamy yellowish in color. So they move all along the leaf and then enter into the shoot. And once they enter into the shoot, and then what is called the tender part of the shoot growing part is going to be cut by the maggot. And as a result we see a very significant the depth of the central shoot. So this happens in the early stage of the growth, like within 10 to 15 days of the germination. And this leads to the development of the side tillering. And even the side tillers are also going to be affected, and ultimately the crop is going to be seriously affected.

So we see a lot of gaps here and there on the wheat growing field and these gaps are the stunted growth of the plant along with the dead heart symptom is a typical symptom, which is expressed by the shoot fly infested plants. Okay so in order to manage this crop or manage this pest, so very eco-friendly management is use of the fish meal trap. So the fish meal trap is nothing but take some of these dried fish, and then put it in a trap and pour some water on it, and this gives out the odor, which is going to attract the adult flies. And you can mix that with a little bit of insecticides. And these flies will get attracted to these traps and they are going to get killed.

And the second important management practice could be like the seed treatment with the Imidacloprid or Thiamethoxam. So which is going to protect or prevent the crop till the one month period. After that the pest is not going to occur and crop will be quite sturdy and it can withstand the damage by the shoot fly.

Pink stem borer:

And the second important pest which comes after the 25 day old crop is the pink stem borer. And the pink stem borer as you can see it is sesamia inferense. And this is a polyphagous pest, which not only comes on wheat, but also is seen on the other millets also like ragi. And as you can see that it is a stout bodied moth, and forewing has got the greyish colored and it has a black streak at the middle of the forewing, whereas hindwing is transparent.

And the name of the pink stem borer comes from the larva, which is pinkish in color. And the moth actually lays the eggs in small batches. And the larva initially, it enters through the whorl and then cuts the young leaf. And as it feeds or nibbles the young leaf. And these leaves when they open up will show a typical pinhole symptoms. And but later as the larva grows, I mean it grows deeper into the stem, and then cut the what is called the emerging shoot. And as a result the dead heart symptom is quite serious. At the vegetative stage, if you look at, then this will leads to the death of the central shoot; what we call



it as the dead heart symptom. And at the reproductive stage if the infestation comes, then this will leads to the death of the panicle. We call it as an white ear symptom.

And as you can see it here, the pink stem borer, the larva inside the stem. And typically these are the white ears, we can see that. And this is quite different from the normal ear heads. And these grains will become very chaffy.

And the next important pest on wheat is the termite. And termite is a polyphagous pest as you all know. But however the wheat which is grown in a rainfed condition and rabi situation is usually attacked by the termite. A termite, you get both the mound building termite, that is Odontotermes obesus or the underground termite, that is the Microtermes obesi. Both actually cause the serious damage. And this is an alate stage of the adult stage, we can see it. And in termite colony we see this beautiful association of the socialization with the queen and the king and as well as the workers; and all living together. And it is the worker caste which cause the huge damage.

And usually the infestation starts in the very early stage. And they simply feed on the roots as well as on the whole plant, and leading to the gaps at the different feed levels. And this is what the damage symptoms we see, the gaps here and there. And these gaps typically indicate the infestation by the termite in patches. And always it is better to go for preventive measures for management. The best thing is locate the termite mound in and around the field and destroy them. Or else so you can also use or drench or pour the chloropyriphos solution into the termite mound and then close it so that it is only the queen when it dies, so the whole colony is going to be destroyed.

And we can also avoid the infestation of the termite by regular irrigation of the crop. So as these termite colonies will avoid the irrigated field. And as a curative measure, if it once comes to the field, then it is better to drench the soil with chloropyriphos 20 EC @ 2 to 3 liters per acre, which is mixed in 500 to 1000 liters of water.

Then one sucking pest group is quite often found on the wheat, and that is aphid. So there are few species of aphids associated as Rhopalosiphum maidis, R. padi, Sitobion avenae or Macrosiphum miscanthi. So all these species, either together or individually. These species are going to infest. And they infest the leaves and as well as the panicles at various stage of the crop. And continuously suck the sap from these parts. As a result the plant shows the yellowing symptoms. Then the vigor of the plant is going to be affected. And if it attacks the panicle, then the grain size is also going to be seriously affected.

So for managing this pest, it is always better to go for neem based insecticide @ 2ml per liter. So which is going to take care of it. A lot of natural enemies are found on the aphids. Such as the lady bird beetle or coccinellids. Then what is called the hover flies. So conservation of these with the judicious use of pesticides, especially the botanicals are going to effectively manage this pest.

Thank You.

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