"King of fibres" or "White gold” the natural fibre is produced by the cotton plant. Since cotton plant is grown on soil it is also vulnerable to as many 1300 species of insects. Among them bollworms are major insect pests and among bollworms, pink bollworm has become a notorious pest. In cotton crop the pink bollworm infestation is reported to loss more than 50% for crop.

Pink bollworm is distributed all over the country. It is distributed in W. Bengal, Assam, Orissa, Bihar, U.P, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc.

American cottons are damaged more than the indigenous varieties. Mid stage of crop is infested and continues till end of the crop. Pink bollworm is monophagous pest and only attacks the cotton.

Management of Pink Bollworm

Cotton bolls can be effectively protected from pink bollworm by spraying insecticides at 10 days interval till the effective boll formation. When Bt. cotton was released the pink boll worms’ incidence was negligible, over a period of years pink boll worm species have developed resistance and resurgence. Even though the cotton crop grown is Bt. varieties the incidence of pink boll worm is maximum.

Mass pheromone traps installation at growing areas will effectively traps and kills the Pink boll worm effectively. This technique may also benefit the cotton growers to an extent.

Chemical control with Emamectin Benzoate 0.5 gm/L + Neemark 1 % 1 mL/L found to effectively control the pink boll worms in the cotton.

Trap crop: Five rows of non- Bt seeds can be sown at the borders and these plants will attract the Pink bollworms. Here the population of pink bollworms will be more on trap crop non Bt plants with minimum incidence on main Bt varieties.

Researchers and scientists have suggested cotton seed suppliers to also supply non Bt seeds to grow at borders as trap crop for Pink bollworms and suppliers are providing those seeds. Usually every 450 gm cotton seeds are provided with 120 gm of no Bt seeds called REFUGIA.

Farmers have neglected this technique or method of utilizing the non Bt seeds to grow as trap crop. This might be also a reason for making Pink boll worm a major pest in cotton. Farmers would have thought of the extra land area to grow non Bt seeds which will become a non productive piece of land for him.

Farmers can think of growing No- Bt cotton trap crop [% rows] all along the borders and may control the incidence of the Pink Bollworms on cotton.

K Sanjeeva Reddy,

Senior Agronomist

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