Black Thrips Infestation in Chilli Crops - A Huge Menace That Requires Immediate Attention
In our previous blogs, we’ve touched upon the significance of chili crops, but let us dive into chilli crops once again as it is never enough to talk about the mighty and fiery chilli which plays colossal role in giving the Indian dishes its unique flavour. Whether making the dish super hot or caressing it with a hint of spicyness, chillies have a role to play.
Though the chilli crops might be fiery in its taste they do fall prey to some of the deadly pest attacks which not only affect the overall growth of the plants but also pose a significant risk to the farmers, leading to potential massive crop losses and eventual financial loss.
Chilli crops are often infested by various types of thrips (read our blog on thrips) and one of the deadliest infestation is the black thrips in chilli which we will be dealing in detail in this blog.
History Of Black Thrips In Chilli:
Black Thrips are native of South Asia and South East Asia and have spread to other parts of the world, Africa, North America, South America and Australia. In India though, Black thrips infestation was observed in 2015 in papaya plants in Karnataka. After this episode, the black thrips were seen attacking both agriculture and horticulture plants alike, mainly in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha and Tamil Nadu. Black thrips were seen in chilli crops in 2021 in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Karnataka. The pest spread aggressively and was mainly seen in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The infestation spread to about 9 lakh hectares of chilli crops and forced the farmers to uproot their crops.
Identification of Black thrips in Chilli Plants:
- The adult thrips are typically quite tiny within 1/20th inch ie., 1 to 2mm.
- As the name suggests, Black thrips have a distinct brownish black coloured long and narrow body.
- The body might be cylindrical or slightly flattened.
- They have fringed wings which are seen folded over the body when at rest.
- Since they are extremely small farmers may need to use magnifying glass to identify their infestation during the initial stages.
Symptoms Of Black Thrips Infestation In Chilli Crops:
- Broadly we can see that the infected plants have stunted growth with curled leaves and give reduced yields.
- Since the thrips feed on content of every plant cell, the infected leaves mostly look brown, bronze or blackish in colour and exhibit feeding scars. The leaves are elongated at petiole and are curled upwards.
- The buds are discoloured and can become brittle and fall off.
- Flowers may show browinsh streaks and fruits are also damaged and thus reducing the overall yield.
Effective Black Thrips Management Methods In Chillies:
An effective black thrips management in chilli crops can be achieved by a combination of preventive measures and Integrated Pest Management methods. An integrated pest management approach includes cultural, biological, and chemical methods
- One should not cultivate chilli crops cycle after cycle in the same area so that the life cycle of black thrips can be disrupted.
- Care should be taken to have adequate spacing between plants which can improve air circulation. This is very important as black thrips are known to survive in hot and humid conditions.
- Intercropping with Agathi (Sesbania grandiflora) provides shade that regulates the thrips population.
- Care should be taken not to grow chilli crops after Sorghum or Onion as both are more susceptible to thrips.
Biological Control Methods:
- Natural predators like ladybugs, predatory mites, and minute pirate bugs feed on the black thrips and have a huge role to play to control the devastation that could be caused by the black thrips at the early stage of infestation.
- Spraying of Neem Oil also hep in warding off the black thrips at an early stage.
- Use of exclusion nets or barrier nets (fine mesh nets) helps in stopping the thrips from accessing the chilli plants.
- Use of strong jet water sprays help in dislodging the thrips from the plants and avoids further damage.
- Reflective mulch placed around the chilli plants helps in disorienting the thrips and controls their spread to some extent
Preventive Methods (Monitoring And Early Detection):
- Regular inspection of the chilli plants for signs of black thrips like stippling or silvering of leaves will help us tackle the problem at an early stage itself.
- Farmers should also consider using the yellow or blue sticky tapes which help in showing the tell tale signs of the presence of black thrips invasion.
Spraying of one of the below insecticides will help in controlling the pest attack.
- SHREETHANE (Acephate 75% SP)
- A1 PRIDE(Acetamiprid 20% SP)
- CARBAN S (Carbofuran 3%)
- ROGO (Dimethoate 30 % EC)
- LION SAFARI (Emamectin Benzoate 1.9% EC)
- REDEEM (Fipronil 5% SC)
- IMIDA SC (Imidacloprid 30.5% SC)
- SHREE SHOGUN (Imidacloprid 17.8% sl)
- NINJA-B(lambdacyhalothrin 2.5% ec)
- WARRIOR (lambdacyhalothrin 5% ec)
- ACCTRA (thiamethoxam 25% wg)
- PYRIPHOS (chlorphyriphos+cyper)
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It’s crucial to adopt an integrated approach and regularly monitor the effectiveness of control measures. This may involve adjusting strategies based on the severity of thrips infestation and the specific conditions of the chili crop. Let us combat the deadly black thrips in chilli crops and reap rewarding harvests!