Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Recognize the problem
The groundnut caterpillar, Spodoptera litura, appears on groundnut
both in vegetative phase and at the time of pod formation. It feeds initially
by skeletonizing, leaving only the outline of the leaves and veins on the
plant. As growth continues, caterpillars eat the entire leaves. After December,
particularly after heavy rains, the infestation increases.
The adult female moth lays eggs in masses of
200-300 on the underside of the groundnut leaves. The egg masses are
approximately 4-7 mm in diameter, brown in colour and are covered with body
hair. Eggs usually hatch after 3- 4 days. Fully grown caterpillars measure
about 3-5 cm in length. They feed gregariously by scrapping the chlorophyll.
Sometimes the feeding is so heavy that only the petiole (the stalk that
attaches the leaf to the stem) and branches are left behind. The old larvae are
nocturnal and can be found on the soil around the base of the plant during the
day time. When the population is high, the larvae migrate from one field to another
in search of food.
summer ploughing will expose the hidden pupae to direct sunlight which can kill
the field will avoid prolonged mid-season drought
castor or sunflower as trap crop
pheromone traps @ 12 per acre
5 bird perches per acre
a blue cloth in the filed during the evening to attract the larvae and then
NPV (Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus) at 250 LE per hectare
poison baits in the field to attract and be eaten by the caterpillars. The bait
can be made with 12 kg rice bran, 2.5 kg jaggery, carbaryl 10% dust and
sufficient water per ha to make as a small round ball.
Profenophos 50 EC @ 2 ml per litre of water.
When using a pesticide, always wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, and pre-harvest interval.
The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to:
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