Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Biocontrol of Sugarcane stem borer
Recognize the problem
borer caterpillars can damage up to 80% of a sugarcane field. They cause great
economic loss for farmers because the sugarcane loses up to 30% of its sugar
content. They attack mainly during the months of April to June.
caterpillar is dirty or creamy white, has five dark lines across its back and
is about half the size of a small finger. When it attacks the sugarcane, the
entire plant dries up and produces dead hearts, which cannot be pulled out
easily. We can also see bore holes close to where the stem and leaves meet. This
stem borer can easily be confused with the top borer, which also produces
dead hearts but these can be pulled out easily.
control involves using live animals/insects/fungi to kill the pest that is
destroying the crop. Trichogramma is a small insect used as a biological
control method. Trichogramma works by hatching and killing the eggs of stem
borers when they are still young. Trichogramma is put on cards which contain 50 – 100 eggs. They do not like direct sunlight as it dries them up
and kills them.
It is possible to buy Trichogramma
cards from government biological control laboratories. Find out from your
extension worker or local DOA office where you can purchase these. Make sure
they are of good quality, so that they are most effective.
- Use the Trichogramma
cards from March to June. Replace them every 15 days to ensure the biological
control method is continually working.
- Attach Trichogramma
cards to the underside of leaves of sugarcane in the evening because the
biocontrol works best when the temperature is lower
- Use 16 cards per acre.
Make sure they are placed throughout the field and cover each section.
a distance of 50 feet between the two cards
The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to:
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