Farmers told to beware of insidious pink boll-worm attack

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Agriculture experts have warned cotton growers against threat of pink boll-worm, a pest considered dangerous due to its attack being insidious in nature.

“It is hard to assess that the crop is under attack by pink boll-worm as the cotton boll apparently looks healthy but actually the attacking pest would be eating inside to make it hollow,” said a press release issued by agriculture spokesman on Thursday. The symptoms emerge at the time of picking of cotton flowers when farmers find that the boll is not opening properly to deliver fluffy and fibrous flower, he told.

The cotton flower from an affected boll acquires bad color and affects quality and production of cotton, the spokesman said and added that Bt cotton varieties were also experiencing rise in pink boll-worm attack for the last three years.

Currently, the crop is passing through a delicate stage wherein it has plenty of bolls, flowers and buds and it is high time to protect the resource from potential attack by pink boll-worm, he added.

He said, the pink boll-worm attacks flowers and bolls right after it comes out of the eggs and this precisely is the right time to hit back and kill the boll-worm. Since, it attacks inside bolls, it becomes hard to get desired results from chemical sprays. So, experts believed, cultural method of tackling the boll-worm would be more result oriented.

Spokesman said that cotton picking and its transportation to the ginning factories and oil mills was in progress.

Experts suggested that sex pheromone traps should be installed in oil mills and ginning factories anticipating arrival of ‘Phutti’ i.e cotton flowers containing seed. PB Ropes be installed in the crop field when it is 40-45 days old.

Pest scouting should be conducted twice a week. For better assessment of pink boll-worm attack in the making, farmers should cut 100 soft bolls from plants, cut them open and count the number of boll-worms.

In case of Bt varieties, five boll-worms in 100 bolls is the economic threshold level (ETL) necessitating remedial measures. To control it early, farmers should apply spray of one litre TriEzophos 40CE or 250ml Delta Methrine 2.5EC or 100-120ml Spinetoram 120SC in 100 litres of water. Same spray should not be repeated time and again.

 

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