An Update on Biology, Extent of Damage and Effective Management Strategies of Chickpea Pod Borer (Helicoverpa armigera)
Muhammad Tariq Mahmood1*, Muhammad Akhtar2, Mushtaq Ahmad1, Muhammad Saleem2, Ali Aziz2, Irfan Rasool2, Zeshan Ali3 and Muhammad Amin2
Helicoverpa armigera is considered as widespread and cosmopolitan insect responsible for drastic decline in chickpea productivity across the world. Management of H. armigera is of prime importance to achieve sustainable chickpea yields. Its life cycle passes through egg, larvae, pupae and adult stages in about 4-5 weeks. 1st to 3rd instar larvae generally feed on leaves, twigs and flowers. In later stages larger larvae (4th to 6th instar caterpillars) shift to developing pods by making holes/bores and consume entire developing seeds. Pod borers can cause yield losses up to 90 percent depending upon the insect density and susceptibility of cultivars. Sustainable management of chickpea pod borer involves use of resistant cultivars, manipulation of sowing dates, maintaining low crop density, management of nutrition, use of trap crops (maize, sunflower, sorghum, safflower, pigeon pea, okra and tomato), installing animated bird perches and application of biological control measures (use of plant extracts, virus/bacteria based insecticides). In case of pod borer outbreaks, chemical insecticides remain as last option for farmers. However, management of chickpea pod borer through use of resistant cultivars, adopting recommended cultural practices and biological control measures have been found more effective, economical, sustainable and eco-friendly.
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