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Pest attack in flowering time of blackgram crop

Title: Battling Pest Attacks During the Flowering Stage of Blackgram Crop

Blackgram, also known as black lentil or urad, is a popular pulse crop cherished for its nutritional value and commercial significance. However, like any other crop, blackgram is susceptible to pest attacks that can potentially damage the yield. In particular, pest attacks during the flowering stage pose a significant threat to the crop’s overall productivity and quality. In this article, we will explore common pests that affect blackgram during its flowering stage and discuss effective measures to combat these problems.

1. Pod Borer (Helicoverpa armigera):
One of the most destructive pests of blackgram during the flowering stage is the pod borer. These pests attack the flowers and fruiting pods, causing extensive damage. The larvae bore into developing pods, leading to direct yield loss and increased vulnerability to secondary infections. Early identification of pod borer damage is crucial to implementing effective pest control measures.

Prevention and control measures:
– Regular monitoring: Inspect blackgram plants during the flowering stage, paying attention to flowers, buds, and developing pods. Early identification of moth eggs and larvae will help control pod borer infestation.
– Cultural practices: Promote overall plant health through appropriate watering, spacing, and nutrition, which helps reduce susceptibility to pest attacks.
– Biological control: Encourage beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps and predators like spiders and ladybugs, which play a vital role in controlling pod borer populations.
– Chemical control: In severe infestations, selective insecticides can be employed. However, it is essential to follow recommended dosage, application timing, and safety precautions.

2. Aphids (Aphis spp.):
Aphids are another common pest that attacks blackgram crops during flowering. These tiny insects feed on the sap of plant tissues and excrete a sticky substance known as honeydew, which attracts ants and promotes the growth of sooty mold. Aphids can hinder the plant’s reproductive capabilities and reduce the availability of vital nutrients.

Prevention and control measures:
– Introduce natural enemies: Encourage predators such as ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps that feed on aphids. Planting companion crops like coriander or marigold can attract these beneficial insects.
– Spraying with organic solutions: Use a homemade organic spray made from neem oil or garlic to repel aphids. However, ensure that the spray does not negatively impact pollinators or beneficial insects.
– Monitor for ant infestations: Ants often protect aphids from natural predators and transport them from plant to plant. Addressing ant activity in the field can help control aphid populations indirectly.

3. Thrips (Thrips spp.):
Thrips are tiny, slender insects which puncture the plant tissue and suck out sap while leaving behind silverish streaks. During the flowering phase, thrips can cause damage to delicate flowers and transmit viral diseases, thereby compromising the crop’s yield potential.

Prevention and control measures:
– Reflective mulch: Covering the soil with reflective mulch can disrupt thrips’ feeding and reproductive cycles, providing an effective barrier against infestation.
– Sticky traps: Install yellow sticky traps around plants to monitor and capture adult thrips. This technique can help in determining population density and planning targeted control measures.
– Natural predators: Encourage beneficial insects such as minute pirate bugs, predatory mites, and flower bugs that prey on thrips and help control their population organically.
– Follow Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices: Implement a holistic approach that includes implementing cultural practices, crop rotation, and judicious use of chemical pesticides as a last resort.

Pest attacks during the flowering stage can have severe consequences for blackgram crops regarding yield and quality. Timely identification, monitoring, and effective pest management practices are crucial in combatting pest attacks during this critical phase. By implementing integrated pest management strategies and promoting a healthy farming ecosystem, farmers can mitigate the damage caused by pests and ensure a successful blackgram harvest.

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