Welcome to our comprehensive guide on common cotton pests and their control. Cotton, one of the world’s most important cash crops, is prone to various pests that can cause significant damage. This blog will explore the damage symptoms, identification methods, pest cycles, treatment options, and effective control and management strategies. Farmers and enthusiasts can safeguard their cotton crops and optimize yields by understanding these aspects.
Common Cotton Damaging Pests and Control
Major and Common Damaging Insect Pest in Cotton
- Jassids (Amrasca biguttulla): These pests cause downward curling of leaves, yellowing, and hopper burn symptoms.
- Aphids (Aphis gossypii): Infestations of aphids lead to the downward curling of leaves and sticky bolls due to the deposition of honeydew.
- Whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci): Whiteflies cause distorted, wrinkled leaves with shiny white patches.
- Spotted and spiny bollworms (Earias vitella and Earias insulana): These bollworms leave bore marks in the main shoot, create feeding holes in floral buds, and block bolls with their excrement.
- American bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera): Signs of this pest include little webbing on squares, flaring up of squares, and excessive shedding of bolls and buds.
- Pink bollworm (Pectinophora gossypiella): Infected bolls exhibit rosette-like formations and movement between interloci.
- Semi-looper (Anomis flava): This pest causes significant loss of leaf area.
Semilooper Insect Pests and Control Methods in Cotton
Cotton Semilooper, Tarache notabilis (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) The Cotton Semilooper is a minor pest of cotton found in Pakistan and India. The caterpillars are dark green with black and bright-yellow spots on their backs, creating a semi-looping movement as they crawl.
The adults are white moths with grey and brown spots on their wings. The pest is active from April to October, completing 4-5 generations yearly. The caterpillars feed on cotton leaves, leading to complete defoliation in severe infestations. Prevention measures include plowing the fields after the cotton harvest and crop rotation with clovers. Chemical control methods are similar to those used for the pink bollworm.
Green Semilooper, Anomis Flava (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) The Green Semilooper is a sporadic cotton pest in Africa, Asia, and Australia. The larvae feed on cotton leaves and other plants such as Hibiscus and Phaseolus. The larvae have pale-yellowish-green bodies with white lines on the dorsal surface, while the adult moths have small reddish-brown forewings.
The pest completes more than one generation in a crop season. Young larvae feed in groups, while mature larvae feed voraciously and can completely defoliate the plants. The control measures include avoiding cultivating preferred host plants, plowing infested crops, and spraying insecticides.
Bud Moth Prevention and Management in Cotton
Bud Moth, Phycita Infusella (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae) The Bud Moth is a minor cotton pest in India that feeds on okra and other plants. The caterpillars create webbings around the young terminal growth of leaves and feed within them. The full-grown caterpillars are greenish with black fronts and brown stripes.
The adult moths are greyish-yellow with speckles and red wavy lines on the wings. The pest is active from April to October, completing 4-5 generations yearly. The webbing and feeding by the caterpillars inhibit plant growth, leading to poor flowering and fruiting. Control measures involve spraying insecticides.
Tobacco Caterpillar Control and Management in Cotton
Tobacco Caterpillar, Spodoptera Litura (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae): The Tobac