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Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers

Pod Fly in Pigeon pea

Melanagromyza obtusa

Recognize the problem

The adult is small black fly and is about 5 mm in length. Eggs are laid in the wall of an immature pod. The female pod fly lays individual eggs on the developing pods. The pod fly infested pods do not show any external symptom of damage until the fully-grown larvae chew the pod wall. They leave behind a thin, papery membrane called a window, through which adults exit the pods. The white maggots feed on the developing grain and pupate inside the pod. The pupae bore the grains and make the tunnel in them. The damaged grains do not germinate and are unfit for human consumption.


The pod fly is a major pest in pigeon pea. Infestation of pod flies causes damage to 20-80% of the crop. The pod fly attack remains unnoticed by the farmers owing to the hidden lifestyle of the insect and thus it becomes difficult to manage.


  • Sow the crop early in the season
  • Use resistant varieties
  • Intercrop with Jowar (sorghum), maize and groundnut
  • Crop rotation should be practiced
  • Conservation of natural enemies
  • Spray Quinalphos 25 EC @ 1.6 ml/lit or Phenthoate 50 EC @ 1.4 ml/lit of water at 50 % flowering stage and after 10 - 15 days neem seed kernel extract should be used

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: India

Authors: T. Aruna
tel: 9894891020 email:
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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