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Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers

Sugarcane Woolly Aphids

Ceratovacuna lanigera

Recognize the problem

The sugarcane woolly aphid is a pest that has profuse white coloured woolly coating around it. It is often mistaken for a mealybug. The white powder on the ground and leaves confirms the presence of the aphids. If uncontrolled, it spreads very quickly and can cause yield losses of up to 20%. This pest is locally known as “Panju asuvini” (Tamil). The nymphs and adults of the aphid remain on the under surface of the leaves and suck the sap. The pests feed voraciously and convert excess sugar into honeydew. The honeydew secretion will lead to the growth of sooty mould fungus.


 The incidence of this pest starts immediately after rainy season and becomes severe during summer and when there are prolonged dry spells coupled with high relative humidity. The pest is transmitted by wind as well as by the transportation of sett and cane from an affected field to other areas. The pest survives on the ratoon crop as well as on hosts like grasses and banana during the off season.


  • Remove and destroy affected plants and burn them, keeping them away from the field
  • Completely avoid transport of affected sugarcane or seed material from the affected places to other areas
  • Practice wide row/paired row planting @ 4 feet apart and detrash the cane for greater aeration and light penetration
  • Avoid ratoon crop
  • Release major predators such as Dipha aphidivora, Micromus igorotus and Eupeodes confrater  @ 1000 larvae or cocoons per ha as well as Chrysopa adults @ 12000 adults per acre
  • Spray Beauveria / Metarhizium @ 1 ml / litre of water
  • Treat sugarcane setts with malathion 50% EC @ 1 ml/litre of water for 15 minutes
  • Spray azadirachtin (e.g. Neemazal) 1500ppm @ 2ml/ litre or profenofos 50% EC @ 2ml/lit of water using a rocker sprayer
EC- Emulsifiable concentrate

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: Ms. Girija
tel: 09486144030 email:
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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