Battling Thrips infestation in Chilli Crops:
India is a country known for cultural diversity and vibrant traditions not to forget its rich spread of cuisine with each state contributing its tastes and flavours. At the heart of this culinary landscape lies the aromatic spices. From the myriad of spices, that we Indians use to bring the best out of each dish, it is the mighty and fiery chilli that enhances the taste of every dish. Chilli infuses the right amount of hotness that our dishes are famous for. Thus it is not surprising that India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of chillies in the world.
Importance Of Chilli Farming In India:
India produces 40% of the chillies produced worldwide, with Andhra Pradesh contributing to the maximum amount of chillies grown in India. Other states which grow chillies are Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh. Chillies accounted for ₹154 billion in Indian Economy in 2021. Approximately 1 million Indian farmers and 2 million agricultural labourers depend on chillies for their livelihood in India. Chilli crops are grown in Kharif and Rabi seasons in India which makes it a suitable crop which can be grown throughout the year.
Pests Attacking Chilli Crop In India:
The major pests attacking Chilli crops in India are:
This blog discusses about the protection of chilli crops against Thrips. Thrips are tiny insects that feed on the sap of chilli plants, causing damage to the leaves, flowers, buds and fruits. They can also transmit viral diseases that affect the quality and yield of the crop. Thrips infestation is a serious problem for chilli growers worldwide and in India.
How To Identify Thrip Attack In Chilli Crops:
- Presence of silvering or bronzing on the leaves, caused by the feeding activity of thrips.
- Stunted growth of the plants.
- Crinkled and Curled leaves because of the sucking of plant sap from leaves, shoot, flowers and buds
- Appearance of small black faecal spots.
- Infested flower buds may become brittle and drop off from plants.
- The petioles may be elongated.
How Does Thrips in chilli Crops Look Like?
The nymphs are small, linear having easily fragile abdomen with straw yellow color. The adults are pale yellow, brown, or black, and have fringed wings. Using a magnifying glass will help in their identification. Another way to find out whether the crops are infested with thrips is to take a leaf which looks affected and tapping it on white sheet of paper. The thrips will fall onto the white sheet making them easier to observe.
Thrips Management In Chilli Crops:
Thrips management can be done by cultural, physical, and chemical methods.
- Pruning of infested parts of chilli plant and disposing them off to arrest the spread of the infestation.
- Use Agathi (Sesbania grandiflora) as a intercrop.(Intercrops are crops grown among different types of plants usually in the space between the rows )
- Chilli plants should not be grown after Sorghum
- Chilli and onion mixed crops should be avoided.
- Planting plants like Chrysanthemum and marigold which repels thrips ( This method is also called as “Companion Planting”)
- Encourage predatory beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, and predatory mites, which feed on thrips.
Seeds should be treated with Imidacloprid 70%WS at 12gm per kg of seed as a preventive measure.
Spraying of any one of the following insecticide:
- SHREE SHOGUN (Imidacloprid 17.8% SL), 3ml/10litre
- PX-CLAIM (Emamectin Benzoate 5% SG), 4gm/10litre
- REDEEM (Fipronil 5% SC), 1.5ml/litre
- A1 PRIDE (Acetamiprid 20% SC), 1gm/10litre
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In conclusion, thrips infestation poses a significant challenge for chilli farmers, resulting in substantial crop losses ranging from 10% in minor cases to even a staggering 80% in severe infestations. This threat is exacerbated by the fact that thrips can strike at any stage of plant growth, particularly thriving in warmer climates. However, with the implementation of effective management strategies, the impact of thrips on chilli crops can be mitigated, offering hope for improved yields and more resilient farming practices.