Control of mosquito tea bug
The pest sucks the sap from the tender leaves
TEA MOSQUITO bug (Helopeltis theivora) is a polyphagus insect pest affecting tea, while Helopeltis antonii, affects crops such as cashew, guava and neem.
Indiscriminate use of pesticides in tea plantations has eradicated several beneficial insect predators that fed on this bug and have led to the resurgence of other pests.
Cashew plants are badly affected by Helopeltis. The insect sucks the juice from the tender leaves and stem, resulting in drying up of shoots.
Once the shoots are affected, flower production is hindered resulting in crop loss. Very often the damage is confused with drought effect.
Affected tea plants exhibit a burnt appearance. Regeneration of new shoots is delayed, thereby affecting the productivity.
The damage is more where tea gardens are located near jungles, shade trees, and unchecked weed growth. Similarly, the neem trees (Azadirachta indica) are also affected badly during winter.
Drying of twigs, showing a burnt appearance is a common sight in December-January, causing annual self-pruning.
Guava trees are also affected by this pest, which reduces the yield.
Eradicating the known alternate host plants in the vicinity.
Trimming the low branches of shade trees .
Checking weed growth .
Raising trap crops/barriers, in the boundary.
In case of damage, remove the affected twigs, and give a spray of biocides cocktail of Beauveria, Pseudomonas, Verticillium/Paecilomyces, at 5 kg each per hectare twice at 10-15 days' interval.
Intermittent spray of Panchagavya also help to check the population.
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
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