The Chilli Thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis, belonging to the Family Thripidae of the Order Thysanoptera, is a tiny insect pest of Chilli crops, causing significant yield losses and reducing the quality of the crops worldwide. The Chilli Thrips are native to Southeast Asia. These invasive pests cause damage to Chilli crops by feeding on the plant’s tender shoots, leaves, and flowers. The Chilli Thrips can transmit the leaf curl mosaic virus that further weakens and damage the plants.
The high reproductive rate of Chilli thrips and their ability to develop insecticide resistance makes them difficult pests to control. Effective management strategies are essential to minimize the impact of this pest on Chilli production. To effectively manage this pest, it is important to understand its life cycle, its preferred habitats, and the best methods for controlling it. This article will provide an overview and discussion of the Chilli Thrips Pest in Chilli crops, including its symptoms, identification techniques, and control.
Chilli Thrips Management
Life Cycle of Chilli Thrips Pest in Chilli Crop
The life cycle of the Chilli Thrips pest has four stages. They are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The female Chilli thrips lay eggs on the tender tissues of the Chilli plant, such as the buds and leaves. The eggs hatch within 2-4 days, depending on the temperature. After hatching, the Chilli thrips larvae emerge from the eggs and feed on the plant tissues. The larvae pass through two instars, molting their skin and growing larger.
Once the second larval instar is complete, the Chilli thrips enter the prepupal stage, during which they stop feeding and become inactive. The prepupal stage lasts about 24 hours, after which the Chilli thrips enter the pupal stage. During the pupal stage, the Chilli thrips develop wings and reproductive organs. The pupal stage lasts for approximately 2-3 days.
After completing the pupal stage, the Chilli thrips emerge as adults. The adult Chilli thrips can fly and disperse long distances to find new host plants. The females begin laying eggs within a few days of emerging from the pupal stage. The entire lifecycle can be completed in as little as 20-30 days under favorable conditions.
Occurrence of Chilli Thrips Pest in Chilli Crop
- Location of Chilli Thrips Pest: This pest infests Chilli crops in India, Africa, Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, the Philippines, and Australia.
- Host Range: The Chilli Thrips pest infects crops like Chilli, Peppers, Tea, Grapes, Sweet Potato, Peanuts, Strawberry, Mango, Guava, Tomato, Cotton, Sorghum, Castor, Eggplant, Beans, Cucumbers, Melons, Bottle gourd, Prosopis, and Water Lily.
Factors Favoring the Population Increase of Chilli Thrips Pest in Chilli Crop
- The Chilli Thrips thrives in warm and humid conditions. The optimal temperature range for the development of the Chilli Thrips Pest is between 22-33°C, and it becomes inactive at temperatures below 10°C.
- Prolonged periods of high humidity levels of around 80-90% provide the ideal conditions for the pest to feed, reproduce, and thrive in Chilli crops.
- Rainfall or excessive moisture on the leaves can increase the humidity levels, promoting the reproduction and survival of the pest.
- The pest prefers the Chilli plant’s young and tender leaves, buds, flowers, and fruits. So, seedlings, young plants, flowering, and fruiting stages are highly susceptible to infestation.
- Poor crop management practices, such as inadequate fertilization, watering, and pest control measures, can weaken the Chilli plant’s immune system and make it more susceptible.
- Overcrowding and inadequate ventilation in Chilli plantations can also create a conducive environment for the pest.