Curb pink bollworm menace in cotton during off season: PAU V-C to farmers

In the last 6-7 years, the incidence of pink bollworm has been recorded on Bt cotton in Central and Southern India and now it has attained the status of a major pest of Bt cotton in North India. -


December 06, 2022 Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) V-C Dr Satbir Singh Gosal has urged the cotton growers to manage pink bollworm (PBW) during the off-season to reduce carryover of this pest to the next season’s cotton crop.

In the last 6-7 years, the incidence of pink bollworm has been recorded on Bt cotton in Central and Southern India and now it has attained the status of a major pest of Bt cotton in North India also, he observed.

During 2021, the incidence of pink bollworm ranging from 0 to 90 per cent was reported from almost all major districts of the cotton belt of Punjab, he disclosed. Pink bollworm survives only on cotton crops under North Indian conditions, so its incidence can be curtailed in the subsequent season, advised Dr Gosal to Punjab farmers.

Dr Vijay Kumar, Principal Entomologist, emphasised curbing the incidence of pink bollworm in the coming season; the carryover of this pest during the winter season is the most important weak link that should be targeted for its management. The old stack of previous year’s crop carrying unopened or half-opened bolls infested with pink bollworms play a major role in the next year or coming year field infestation, he added. About its management strategies, he said that the movement of cotton sticks carrying unopened or half-opened bolls from the infested areas to the new areas should be strictly avoided. “After the final picking, the cotton sticks of PBW infested cotton field should be shredded in the field itself with the help of a shredder before sowing the next crop to kill the larvae. Allow sheep, goats and other farm animals into cotton fields to feed on plant debris and unopened bolls,” he advised.

Further, Dr Kumar suggested to not stalk cotton sticks under the shade or in the field. “Beet the sticks on the ground to dislodge the pink bollworm larvae surviving in the unopened bolls and stalk the cotton stick vertically away from the fields. Consume/ destroy the sticks by mid-March and if possible,” he said. Stating that cotton ginning mills could also perform a key role in reducing or increasing the pest attack in the next season, he advised that prevention of the spread of pink bollworm adults from cotton ginning mills should be done by covering the cotton in ginning mills with polythene sheets.

Seed-cotton movement from pink bollworm-infested areas should be prevented to cotton ginneries operating in non-pink bollworm infestation areas, he told. All the seed cotton in the ginneries should be ginned by the end of March and ginning waste must be destroyed immediately, he stressed. Hence, kapas retained by the farmers should be ginned by the end of March and seed be fed to cattle or covered, he added. The pheromone traps should be installed near the cotton ginnery for early detection of the pink bollworm, he urged.

Dr Kumar impressed upon the farmers to remain vigilant and contact Krishi Vigyan Kendras or Farm Advisory Service Centres or Regional Research Stations of PAU or Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Punjab, if any incidence of pink bollworm on Bt cotton is observed.


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