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Strategies for Management of Cotton Pink Bollworm

Control Strategies:

Pink bollworm not only causes reduction in yield but also affects the lint quality by causing yellow spots in its fibre. The economic loss it causes is heavier than the impact of other worms. The pink bollworm larvae feed on the lint and seed, thus affect the germination quality of the seed. The loss in weight of seed cotton and oil content is also affected. In financial terms, pink bollworm is one of the most damaging pests of cotton. Moreover, the damaged seed does not germinate. As pink bollworm is a mono-host pest and thus, can be easily managed if all required precautions are taken.

Cultural control

It plays a key role in reducing the number of pink bollworm. Its management during off-season is necessary to ensure a pink bollworm free crop next season. Therefore, preventive measures are necessary and these include post-harvest, off-season and pre planting actions. Late planting of cotton crop has been used as a best method, as when larvae develop before the crop is ready due to the absence of any food source fails to grow. Methods have also been developed for overcoming the number of overwintering larvae, including the chemical defoliation of crops and desiccation of the crop at the end of the season; removing immature late season bolls; and the use of short-season varieties. Other cultural control methods, including land preparation, irrigation, sowing date, weed control, fertilization, crop rotation, use of trap crops and resistant varieties

  • Cattle grazing of the remaining bolls at the end of each season
  • Timely crop termination to maintain season
  • Avoiding early planting of cotton crop
  • Clean up/ destruction of cotton stubbles immediately after harvest
  • Avoiding stacking of cotton stalks for fuel purpose over long periods
  • Deep ploughing in summer to expose the pupae of pink bollworm

These practices adopted largely reduce the attack of pink bollworm during next season. While planning for the next season selection of varieties with early maturity, sun drying of seeds for 6-8 hours and sowing of acid treated seeds are effective and economical to prevent the attack of pink bollworm during next season. During the current season care must be taken to monitor pink bollworm infestation on the crop.

Chemical Control

Chemical control is difficult as the pest spends most of its time within the fruiting bodies and is not visible to direct chemical spray. Only pesticides with good residues can help in controlling the pest at egg-hatching stage. Excessive use of pesticides cause yield reduction. The best control of pink bollworm has been demonstrated with the use of pheromone. Fields treated with pheromone also have a higher population of predators and parasites that are an important component of integrated pest management. Fields where pheromone products were used had less moth activity as compared to chemically controlled cotton fields. The yield of cotton seed also improved in pheromone used fields.

Experiments conducted at the Central Cotton Research Institute, Multan over the past 20 years have proved that this method is environmental friendly and helps in overcoming its population. The population of natural enemies was also observed in the pheromone treated fields, whereas in chemical treated, the population of natural predators was negligible. These natural enemies also help in controlling secondary pests like American bollworm, spider mites and army worm because these are exposed natural enemies. The control of pink bollworm in this way not only improves the yield but also increases the quality of lint.

Management of pink bollworm is essential because it is a serious pest of cotton and causes heavy economic losses. To overcome challenges faced by the farmers during cotton production, now Jazz Bakhabar Kissan has started educating famers regarding effective measures for pink bollworm management. As off season management is essential for preventing its occurrence during succeeding season. Cotton is a major crop of Pakistan, and its production in Pakistan is an integral to the economic development of the country. The nation is largely dependent on the cotton industry and textile sector. Thus effective strategies are necessary for uplifting the yield of cotton growers.

About Amira Batool

BSc(Hons)Agriculture Major Horticulture


  1. Thanks to the great manual

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