Insect-pest management

i.              Stem Borer (Chilo partellus)

Major pest of maize in India is Stalk borer. Chilo partellus, popularly known as stalk borer that occurs during monsoon season is a major pest throughout the country. Chilo lays eggs 10-25 days after germination on lower side of the leaves. The larva of the Chilo enters in the whorl and cause damage in the leaves


ii.            Pink Borer (Sesamia inference)

Sesamia inference occurs during winter season particularly in peninsular India. The moth of the Sesamia is nocturnal and lays eggs on lower leaf sheath. The larvae of the Sesamia enter the plant near the base and cause damage to stem.



Control of Chilo and Sesamia: For control of Chilo and Sesamia, foliar spray of 0.1 % Endosulfan {700 ml (35 EC) in 250 litre water} 10 days after germination is very effective. The Chilo can also be controlled by release of 8 Trichocards (Trichogramma chilonis) per hectare at 10 days after germination. Intercropping of maize with suitable varieties of cowpea is an eco-friendly option for reducing the incidence of Chilo on maize.


iii.           Shoot fly (Atherigona sp.)

In South India it is a serious pest but it also appears on spring and summer maize crop in North India. It attack mainly at seedling stage of the crop. The tiny maggots creep down under the leaf sheaths till they reach the base of the seedlings. After this they cut the growing point or central shoot which results in to dead heart formation.


Control of Shootfly:

     Sowing must be completed before first week of February so that the crop will escape shootfly infestation.

     Spring sowing must be accompanied with seed treatment with Imidacloprid @ 6ml/kg seed.

iv.           Termites (Odontotermes obesus)

Termite is also an important pest in many areas.For control of termite fepronil granules should be applied @ 20 kg ha-1 followed by light irrigation. If the termite incidence is in patches, than spot application of fepronil @ 2-3 granuled/plant should be done. Clean cultivation delays termite attack.






v.            Other emerging pests:

Recently some other non-traditional pests are also causing damage to maize crop viz.larvae of American Bollworm (Helicoverpa armigera) which causes damage to cob in Southern part of India while the Chaffer beetle (Chiloloba acuta) feeds on maize pollen which adversely affects pollination in northern part of India.



American bollworm                                            Chaffer beetle