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How to Fight Pink Bollworm in Cotton? Follow These 14 ICAR-CICR Recommendations

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Pink Bollworm in Cotton
Pink Bollworm in Cotton

Pink Bollworm has emerged as the major pest of cotton throughout India. This pest bores into the cotton balls and devours cotton blossoms and seeds, creating a substantial destruction of the crop. The worm infests the crop during medium stage and the late stage. Infestation of this pest is so serious that it has become a major threat to the cotton crop in the major growing states of the country.  

The bollworm penetrates inside the boll, so it cannot be seen from the outside. That’s the reason it is difficult to detect infestation.  

Pink bollworm infestation has been observed in Bt cotton 45-60 days after sowing. This has been happening for the last 2-3 years in central and southern parts of India. Severity of infestation of this pest differs from state to state.  

Pink bollworm can destroy upto 92% of the cotton crop. 

Pink Bollworm at its various stages

CICR Recommendations  

  • Finish cotton crop by the month of January in any case.  

  • Take care of cotton season. Avoid sowing cotton in the months of April and May, as incidences of pink bollworm can be higher during these months.  

  • Remove all stubble of the previous crop, especially the infected bolls from the field. Avoid making a heap of dry branches of crop at the borders of the field.  

  • If you have seeds of both Bt crops of cotton and non-Bt cotton, then sow non-Bt seeds as refuge crop in the field. This is an effective way to fight pink bollworm.  

  • Do not gather infested and tainted cotton bolls in the warehouse.  

  • Get the seeds of famous Bollguard 2 and other straight varieties of cotton and sow them.  

  • Avoid using F2 seeds.  

  • Practice crop rotation to break the life cycle of pink bollworm. 

  • In order to prevent the activities of pink bollworm flies, attach pheromone trap at the rate of 5 traps per hectare 45 days after sowing cotton seeds.  

  • After 60 days of sowing, spray a mixture containing neem seed extract 5% + neem oil.  

  • Based on the availability, use the biological agent Trichogramma bacteri @ 60,000/acre at an interval of three weeks between the months of October and December.  

  • Use only those insecticides that are recommended and recognized.  

  • Do not use a mix of insecticides.  

  • Avoid using insecticides like Monocrotophos, Acephate, Imidacloprid, and Thiamethoxam in the first 3 months of the crop.  

The recommended insecticides to manage pink bollworm in cotton 

Month  

Insecticides 

Quantity per 10 liters of water 

September 

Quinalphos 20% AF 

Thiodicarb 75% WP  

20 mg 

20 g 

October 

Chlorpyriphos 20% EC 

Thiodicarb 75% WP 

25 mg 

20 g 

November 

Fenvalerate 20% EC 

Cypermethrin 10% EC  

10 mg 

10 mg 

Note: For power spray, take 3 times the quantity of insecticide.  

CICR (Central Institute for Cotton Research) is a research institute set up ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research). Its campuses are located in Sirsa (Haryana) and Nagpur (Maharashtra).

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