Internode Borer Management in Sugarcane: Symptoms, Treatment, Chemical, Biological, Natural, and Organic Control

Internode borer, Chilo sacchariphagus indicus (Kapur), is a major pest of sugarcane in tropical India. It is widely distributed across sugarcane-growing regions in the country and infests various sugarcane varieties. The internode borer is a particular moth that frequently inhabits sugarcane areas. This pest’s larvae feed on the sugarcane stalk’s inner tissues, harming the plant and lowering its yield. The internode borer may lead to sugarcane farmers a lot of loss if it is not controlled.

Internode Borer Management in Sugarcane

Therefore, it is crucial for sugarcane producers to understand the biology and behavior of the internode borer and to put these concepts into practice when putting this pest under control. This blog article will review various aspects of managing internode borer in sugarcane crops, including pest identification, tracking and scouting methods, cultural and mechanical control techniques, and chemical pesticide use. 

We’ll additionally highlight how crucial integrated pest management (IPM) plans and environmentally friendly farming methods are for preventing internode borers from spreading and for keeping sugarcane harvests healthy and productive.

Internode Borer Management in Sugarcane

Factors Favoring Growth/ Causes of Internode Borer in the Field

The causal organism of internode borer in sugarcane fields is Chilo sacchariferous Indicus. This pest causes significant damage to the crop soon after internode formation, and its activity continues until harvest. The presence of water around shoots, waterlogged conditions, high dosage of nitrogen, and lodging favor the buildup of this pest. Severe infestation leads to yield loss and deterioration of juice quality.

Life Cycle of Sugarcane Internode Borer

The sugarcane internode borer has four stages in its life cycle: the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The female moths lay their oval, flat, waxy white eggs in groups of 9–11 close to the midribs, on the sheaths of the leaves, or the stem. Four longitudinal violet bands surround the light brown head of the white larva.

The pupal phase lasts 7 to 10 days, and the pupation occurs in a semi-dried sheath. The adult’s forewings are each marked with a black spot and are straw in color. The borer can produce numerous generations within a year, and the entire life cycle lasts roughly 25–30 days.

Host range: The sugarcane internode borer has a host range limited to sugarcane and closely related grasses, including sorghum, maize, and wild grasses.

Identification of Internode Borer in Sugarcane in Field

The symptoms and physical characteristics of the pest can be used to identify internode borer in sugarcane fields. Boreholes, chewed leaves, and frass or excreta are signs of damaged sugarcane plants and point to larvae inside the stalk. The adult has a straw-colored body with a dark spot on each forewing, while the larvae have four violet longitudinal bands and a light brown head.

Damage Symptoms of Internode Borer in Sugarcane

  • The caterpillars attack sugarcane plants about three months after planting.
  • They bore into the canes near the nodes and tunnel upwards in a characteristic spiral fashion.
  • The entry holes are usually plugged with excreta.
  • The entry is primarily confined to the first five internodes.
  • Constricted and sh