The sugarcane mealybug, Saccharicoccus sacchari is a small insect that poses a significant threat to sugarcane crops worldwide. They are pinkish oval shaped insects usually found beneath the leaf sheath, which feeds on the sap of the sugarcane plant, leading to stunted growth and reduced yields. Sugarcane mealybug infestations have become a growing concern for farmers in many parts of the world and the economic losses can be significant. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of sugarcane mealybugs and various control measures that can be adopted to manage them.
Type of Infestation
Sugarcane mealybugs are a type of sap feeder, which feeds on the sap of the sugarcane plants.
Scientific Name: Saccharicoccus sacchari
Most Affected States
Sugarcane mealybugs are widely distributed across India and they are known to cause damage to sugarcane crops in several states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
Symptoms of Sugarcane Mealybug
The symptoms of sugarcane mealybugs infestation can be easily identified by,
- The presence of pinkish oval shaped insects under the leaf sheath at the nodes, with whitish mealy coating.
- They suck the sap from the plant leading to yellowing of leaves.
- Sugarcane mealybugs secrete a honeydew substance, which attracts other pests and can lead to the growth of sooty mould on the canes.
- They also attack roots and the affected main cane becomes stunted.
A combination of different control measures is often important to effectively manage mealybugs infestation in sugarcane crops. The following are some of the commonly used IPM practices for controlling sugarcane mealybugs,
- Grow resistant sugarcane varieties like CO 439, CO 443, CO 720, CO 730 and CO 7704.
- Detrash the sugarcane crop on 150 and 210 days after planting
- Drain excess water from the sugarcane field.
- Avoid using excessive dozes of nitrogen-based fertilizers.
- Encourage bio-control agents to keep the mealybug populations in check.
- Amruth Alestra Liquid (Bio Insecticide) contains strains of naturally occurring entomopathogenic fungus Verticillium lecanii which comes in contact with the cuticle of the mealybugs and colonizes them. The recommended dosage is 2ml per liter of water.
- Greenpeace Neemol Bio Neem Oil Insecticide contains neem-based products azadirachtin which when used at the rate of 1-2ml per liter of water with 15days interval between each spray can effectively control mealybugs in sugarcane fields.
- Kaybee Mealy Raze Bio Pesticide contains natural plant extracts which when sprayed affects the internal nervous system of mealybugs, leading to paralysis and death. The recommended dosage is 1-2ml per liter of water.
Some of the commercial chemicals that can be used to control sugarcane mealybugs are mentioned below,
|Product Name||Technical Content||Dosage|
|Tafgor Insecticide||Dimethoate 30% EC||1.5 ml/lit of water|
|Confidor Insecticide||Imidacloprid 17.8% SC||0.75 ml/lit of water|
|Sivanto Prime Insecticide||Flupyradifurone 17.09% SL||2 ml/lit of water|
|Tafaban Insecticide||Chlorophyriphos 20 %EC||2.5 ml/lit of water|
|Anshul Ikon Insecticide||Acetamiprid 20% S.P||0.5 gm/lit of water|