The Maize Shootfly, Atherigona orientalis, belonging to the Family Muscidae of the Order Diptera, also known as the Maize Stemfly, is a polyphagous species that it can feed on a wide range of host plants. The larvae can cause holes in the leaves and damage the developing cobs, leading to reduced yields and quality of the maize crop. Maize Shootfly infestations can significantly affect the growth and yield of maize crops and can be difficult to control.
Early detection and control measures are essential for reducing crop losses due to Maize Shootfly infestations. 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 Maize Shoot-fly Pest in Maize crops, including its symptoms, identification techniques, and control.
Maize Shoot-fly Pest Management
Life Cycle of Maize Shoot-fly Pest in Maize Crop
The life cycle of the maize shoot-fly pest in maize crops is a complex process that takes several weeks. The cycle begins when a female maize shoot-fly lays eggs on a plant’s leaves. These eggs hatch into larvae, feeding on the maize leaves for a few weeks. During this period, the larvae grow and molt several times. When the larvae are fully grown, they drop to the ground and pupate in the soil.
During this pupal stage, the larvae transform from an immature to an adult form. This process can last two to four weeks, depending on the environmental conditions. Once the adult maize shoot-fly emerges from the soil, it will feed on the plants and lay eggs. This cycle repeats itself repeatedly, with the adult shoot-fly laying eggs on the leaves, the larvae hatching and feeding, and the adults emerging from the soil to start the cycle again.
Occurrence of Maize Shoot-fly Pest in Maize Crop
- Location of maize shoot-fly pest: It is particularly prevalent in Africa, India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. In India, it occurs in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Karnataka.
- Host range: The maize shoot-fly pest can infect different crops, including maize, sorghum, wheat, ragi, and bajra.
Factors Favoring the Population Increase of Maize Shoot-fly Pest in Maize Crop
- Climate change – Climate change has caused an increase in the temperature of the environment, which has allowed the shoot-fly pest to survive in areas it could have not come before. This has allowed the pest to spread to new areas and increase its population.
- Increased use of fertilizers – The increased use of fertilizers has increased soil nutrient content. This has allowed the shoot-fly pest to thrive and increase its population.
- Monoculture – The increased practice of monoculture has provided the shoot-fly pest with an uninterrupted food source, allowing it to increase its population.
- Lack of natural enemies – The lack of natural enemies for the shoot-fly pest has allowed it to increase its population without any natural hindrance.
- Increased use of pesticides – This has adversely affected the population of beneficial insects, which act as natural enemies of the shoot-fly pest. This has allowed the shoot-fly pest to increase its population.
Identification of Maize Shoot-fly Pest in Maize Crop
- Egg: The eggs are laid singly and are whitish. They are about 0.4 mm in size and can be difficult to spot in the field.
- Larva: They are yellowish and about 8 mm in size at maturity. They are easily