Seasonal fluctuation in the population of Leucinodes orbonalis Guen. in the sub-himalayan region of West Bengal, India and its control on eggplant (Solanum melongena L.)
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Eggplant is one of the most common vegetable crops grown in India and other parts of the world. Leucinodes orbonalis is the key pest infesting eggplant, with international importance as it causes heavy damage in all eggplant growing areas. It is very difficult to control this pest since it feeds inside the shoot and fruit, and there is every possibility of toxic residues remaining in the fruits as they are harvested at frequent intervals and are consumed after little cooking. In the sub-himalayan region of West Bengal, India the pest was found to be most active during summer and the rainy season, particularly during May–August, and caused 49.5–81.0% damage to fruits. Peak infestation (81.0% fruit damage) was noticed in the first week of June (22nd standard week), when the mean temperature, mean relative humidity and weekly rainfall were 27.8°C, 79.2% and 81.2 mm respectively. The pest became less active during winter months particularly in December–January. Borer infestation showed a significant positive correlation (P = 0.05) with maximum and mean temperature, minimum and mean relative humidity and rainfall, whereas with maximum relative humidity the correlation was negative but non-significant. The insecticides evaluated in the field for L. orbonalis control on eggplant revealed that avermectin (Vertimec 1.9 EC; 0.5 ml/l) was the most effective in suppressing dead heart caused by the pest, closely followed by Beauveria bassiana (Biorin 107 conidia/ml; 1 ml/l) and Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner (Biolep 5 × 107 spores/ml; 1 g/l). Significantly lower levels of fruit damage were recorded after avermectin treatment, closely followed by DDVP (0.05%) (Nuvan 76 SL; 2 ml/3 l) when compared with the untreated control. The other insecticides tested, including a neem formulation (Neemactin 0.15 EC; 2.5 ml/l) and malathion (0.05%) (Malathion 50 EC; 1.0 ml/l), were less effective. None of the insecticides evaluated produced satisfactory results against L. orbonalis. However, avermectin, besides being environmentally safe, was effective for a longer duration and could thus be recommended for Integrated Pest Management programmes on eggplant.
KeywordsEggplant Leucinodes orbonalis Incidence Insecticides Efficacy
The authors are grateful to the Adaptive Research Council, Government of West Bengal, India for providing financial assistance. The work carried out under the project is duly acknowledged.
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