PESTS OF TEA
Tea mosquito bug, Helopeltis theivora Miridae – Hemiptera
- Adults and nymphs suck the sap from buds, young leaves and tender stems by puncturing the plant tissues with needle like stylets and inject toxic saliva. These punctures appear as reddish brown spots. Due to intensive feeding, leaves curl up, become badly deformed and remain small. Gradually, shoots dry up.
Looper cater pillar, Biston supressaria Geometridae – Lepidoptera
- Young caterpillars feed on the tender leaves, making punctures along the margin while mature larvae prefer older leaves. Grown up larvae feed entire leaf leaving midrib alone. In severe cases of attack, tea bushes are completely denuded.
- Adult moth has grey wings speckled with light brown or black markings and irregular wavy yellow lines. Young loopers are dark brown with pale yellowish white lines on the back and sides.
Bunch caterpillar, Andraca bipunctata Bombycidae Lepidoptera
- It is a smooth greyish-colored larva defoliates plant. Adult is a golden brown moth.
Lobster Caterpillar, Neostauropus alternus Notodontidae: Lepidoptera
- Two or three caterpillars can completely devour all the leaves of a small plant in two to three days. Moths have greyish white wings with a few reddish brown spots on forewings.
Flush worm, Cydia leuocostoma Tortricidae Lepidoptera
- Caterpillar ties up the margin of tender leaves and forms a case enclosing the bud. Worms feed on the upper epidermis of leaves. Affected leaves become rough, crinkled and leathery. Shoot growth is arrested when buds are damaged.
- Adult is a very small moth, blackish brown in colour. Larva is brown and larval period is 19-25 days. Pupation takes place on the petiole region of outer most leaf.
Tea tortrix, Homona coffearia Tortricidae Lepidoptera
- Caterpillars make leaf nests by webbing the leaves using silken threads and feed from inside. Single caterpillar makes several cases. Young larvae prefer tender leaves, while the older larvae are seen in mature larvae.
- Adult moth is brown coloured and bell shaped in outline while at rest.
- Larva is green in colour and larval period is 20-30 days. Pupation takes place inside the leaf cases.
Tea leaf folder,Caloptilia theivora Gracillariidae – Lepidoptera
- Young caterpillar first mines into the leaf. Older larvae roll the young leaves from downward and feed from inside. Adult is a small brown coloured moth
Large gelly grub, Belippa lalaena Cochlidiidae Lepidoptera
- It is a polyphagous pest feeds on several cultivated plants like pear, coffee and cocoa besides tea. Damage is confined to mature leaves. Larvae eat large portions of leaf. Grub is pale bluish, round and resembles a bulb of gelly. Larval period is two months. Cocoons are white, round and attached to the bushes.
- Aphid, Toxoptera aurantii Aphididae – Hemiptera
- Leaf hopper, Empoasca flavescens Cicadellidae Hemiptera
- Brown scale, Saissetia coffeae walker Coccidae – Hemiptera
- Root mealy bug, Dysmicoccus sp. Pseudococcidae – Hemiptera
- White grub, Holotrichia impressa Melolonthidae –Coleoptera
- Shot hole borer, Euvallacea fornicatus Scolytidae Coleoptera
Nymphs and adults infest upper surface of mature leaves. Infestation starts along midrib and veins and gradually spreads to the entire upper surface of leaves. Affected leaves become bronzed, dry and crumpled.
Red spider mite, Oligonychus coffeae Tetranychidae Acarina
- Adult female is elliptical in shape, bright crimson red anteriorly and dark purplish brown posteriorly. O. coffeae is the largest of all tea mites.
Scarlet mite, Brevipalpus californicus Tenuipalpidae: Acarina
- Adult mite is scarlet red in colour and ovate in shape. They are slightly bigger than eriophyid mites and can be seen with the naked eye.
Purple mite, Calacarus carinatus Eriophyidae Acarina
- Adult mites are very small and spindle shaped dark purple in colour with five longitudinal white waxy ridges on the dorsal side.
Pink or orange mite, Acaphylla theae Eriophyidae Acarina
- Adult is very minute, orange coloured and carrot shaped.
Yellow mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus Tarsonemidae – Acarina
- They are polyphagous species attacking tomato, cinchona, cotton, pulses, potato etc. They are seen on young leaves especially the top two to three leaves and the bud on both leaf surfaces, but more on the lower side.
Looper cater pillar
Bunch caterpillar Lobster Caterpillar Tea tortrix
Red spider mite Scarlet mite Purple mite Pink mite Yellow mite