Ludhiana, August 17: A survey on the incidence of mealybugs was conducted in different districts of Punjab by the entomologists of Punjab Agricultural University.
The pest was mainly observed on weeds grown on the waste land, on roadside and water channel, said Dr. Uma Kanta, Head of the Department of Entomology.
She added that in some villages the pest was also observed on the border sides of cotton fields. It multiplies on weed host plants like congress grass, peeli booti, kangi booti, datura, bakhra, itsit, puthkanda, etc. and then shift to the adjoining cotton fields, said she.
Elaborating further, Dr. Kanta said that the mealybug pest gets spread by wind, insects, birds, animals and weeds, etc. PAU has recommended the removal and destruction of weeds in and around cotton fields for its timely management. The nymphs and adults of mealybug suck the sap from leaves, stem, fruiting bodies and bolls of cotton plants, added she. It also secretes honey dew on leaves as a results in the development of black sooty mould. In case of severe infestation, plants remain stunted and bolls do not open properly.
For the effective protection of Bt cotton, it is necessary to adopt the following integrated pest management strategies: Grow only recommended cotton hybrids. Do not grow guar, okra in or around cotton crop as these are most suitable host for multiplication of mealy bug. Eradicate the weeds like kanghi booti and peeli booti, congress grass, puthkanda, itsit growing on field bunds, wasteland, roadsides and irrigation channels canal. Do not throw the uprooted infested plants in cotton fields/water channel to check further spread.
Initially the pest is restricted to a few plants in a row. Thus spot treatment of pest with insecticides is recommended. Thorough coverage of plant with insecticides is essential to check the multiplication of mealy bug.
The spot treatment with any of the insecticides such as Buprofezin 25 EC (Applaud/ Tribune) @ 500 ml/acre or Profenophos 50 EC (Curacron/Carinae) @ 500 ml/acre or Chlorpyriphos 20 EC (Coroban/dursban/ durmett) @ 2.0 lit/acre, Acephate 75 SP (Orthene/asataf) @ 800 g/acre by mixing in 125-150 litre of water per acre is recommended.