Pest Affecting Cardomom and Betelvine – Pest control Studymaterial


Shoot/panicle/capsule borer Conogethes punctiferalis (Pyraustidae: Lepidoptera)

  • It is a serious pest of nurseries in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Alternate hosts are castor, turmeric, guava, mulberry etc.
  • Larvae bore in to pseudostem of seedlings and feed on nursery plants and young tillers in plantation. 
  • Infestation is indicated by the presence of entry holes plugged with excreta. 
  • Core stem gets decayed and passages of food materials to growing points are blocked, which lead to ‘dead heart’ symptom. 
  • When panicles and spikes are infested, further production of flowers on them is stopped and gets dried. Larvae also bore in to capsules and damage seeds leaving the pod empty. 
  • Adult moth is medium sized, pale yellowish with black spots on wings. 
  • Moth lays eggs singly or in group on the tender parts of plant. 
  • Larva is long, pale greenish with a pinkish tinge dorsally, head and prothoracic shield brown in colour and body is covered with minute hairs arising on warts. Larval period is 15 – 18 days. Pupation takes place in loose silken cocoon in larval tunnel. Pupal period lasts for 7 – 10 days. Life cycle is completed in 30 – 35 days. 

Early capsule borers Jamides sp. (Lycaenidae: Lepidoptera)

  • It is a destructive pest in Karnataka. Caterpillars bore and feed on inflorescence, flower buds, flowers and capsules. Infested capsules become empty with a big circular hole, turn yellowish – brown, which decay and drop off in the rainy season.
  • Wings of moth are bluish with metallic luster on upper surface and bordered with a white thin line and black shade. Larva is flat, trowel shaped covered with dense hairs covering all over the body. Pupa is small, brownish and pupates in the debris near the panicle. 

Beetle borer, Onthophagus spp. Scarabaeidae: Coleoptera 

  • Adults are subterranean in habit and found active during rainy periods. Adult bores flowers and feed on tissues, while larvae are root feeders. 
  • Bore hole is neat, circular, tiny and at right angles to pericarp mostly on the ventral side. When infestation is on young immature capsules, they put forth matured appearance, decay and drop off. 
  • Adult is a small, dark brown, cylindrical beetle with short thick erect hairs, covered all over body. Elytra are hard and shiny.

Galerucid borer, Thamnuroides cardamomi (Galerucidae: Coleoptera) 

  • Symptom and damage are similar to that caused by Onthophagus spp.
  • Adult bores a single hole per capsule and fine saw dust like frass thrown out of the hole indicates the presence of beetle. 
  • Adult is a small dark brown cylindrical beetle with short thick hairs, found all over the body. Larva is white in colour, body is soft wrinkled and slightly curved. 

Shoot fly, Formosina flavipes (Chloropidae: Diptera) 

  • Shoot fly maggot feeds on growing shoot of young cardamom suckers and cause ‘dead heart’ symptoms. Severity of the pest is more in the open areas where there is inadequate shade in the newly planted cardamom. 
  • Adult fly lays cigar shaped white eggs in between leaf sheath and pseudostem on the whorl. Life cycle lasts for 20 – 25 days. 

Root grub, Basilepta fulvicorne (Eumolpidae: Coleoptera) 

  • Grubs feed on roots, which result in destruction of root system, yellowing of leaves and clumps loose their hold in the soil and fall off. Adults are shiny, metallic blue or bluish green or green or brown beetles. Mature grubs are ‘C’ shaped, apple white and pupate in an earthen cell. Life cycle lasts for 3 months. 

Root borer, Hilarographa caminodes (Pyraustidae: Lepidoptera)

  • Larvae bore into root and tunnels made by them are filed with frass. Infestation results in yellowing of leaves and weakening of the plants. Adult moth lays eggs on exposed portion of roots. Caterpillars are cream coloured with pale brown head. 

Rhizome weevil, Prodioctes haematicus (Curculionidae: Coleoptera) 

  • Severely infested clumps rot and fall down and in some cases, whole clump dies. Adult is a brown weevil with 3 lines on the pronotum and 3 black spots on each elytron. Grubs are glossy white with brown head. 

Root gall maggot, Hallomyia cardamomi (Cecidomyiidae: Diptera)

  • Pink coloured maggot bores into exposed roots and causes extensive galling. 

Cardamom white fly, Dialeurodes cardamomi (Aleyrodidae: Hemiptera)

  • Nymphs and adults remain in colonies on lower leaf surface and suck the sap. 
  • As a result, chlorotic patches appear on leaves, gradual yellowing and get dried. Sooty mould development occurs due to honeydew secretion. 
  • Adult is with two pairs of white wings. Nymphs are pale greenish-to-greenish yellow in colour. Life cycle is completed with in 2-3 weeks depending upon weather parameters. 

Cardamom thrips, Scirtothrips cardamomi (Thripidae: Thysanoptera)

This is the most important pest of cardamom in South India. Damage ranges from 10 to 90% depending on severity of attack. Main alternate host plant is Panicum longipes. 

  • Nymphs and adults are seen inside bracts, perianth, unopened flower buds, on the main pedicel and in spindle of shoots. They lacerate tissues and suck the oozing sap.  Corky encrustations on pods are formed, which result in malformed and shriveled pods. Such pods lack their fine aroma and seeds with in are also poorly developed. Shedding of flowers and pods are also noticed.
  • Adult is minute, dark greyish brown with fringed wings. Adult lays minute kidney shaped eggs singly on tender part of leaf sheath and racemes. Complete life cycle from egg to adult takes 25 – 30 days. 

Cardamom aphid, Pentalonia nigronervosa (Aphididae: Hemiptera)

  • It is a vector of ‘katte’ or marble mosaic disease in small cardamom. 
  • Alternate hosts are Colocasia s. Alocasia sp. and banana. 
  • Wingless aphid is dark brown and pyriform. 
  • Adult longevity varies from 8 to 26 days, with an average period of 14 days. Wings have prominent black veins. 

Pink leaf hopper, Bothrogonia sp. (Cicadellidae: Hemiptera) 

  • This is a seasonal pest. Alternate hosts are banana, cinnamons and arecanut. 
  • Nymphs and adults are sucking the sap which result in chlorosis. 
  • Adult is a medium sized elongate, pinkish bug with black spots.

Brown spittle bug, Eosocarta nilgiriensis (Cercopidae: Hemiptera) 

  • This is also a seasonal pest. Nymphs and adults cause chlorosis on leaves due to sucking of sap. Adults are medium sized, wedge shaped, shiny brown.

Banded spittle bug Cosmoscarta thoracica (Cercopidae: Hemiptera) 

  • Adults are medium sized, brown black with three orange coloured cross bands on fore wings. Head and thorax are black and the latter bordered with a thick orange line.

Lace wing bug, Stephanitis typicus (Tingidae: Hemiptera) 

  • Nymphs and adults sucking sap resulting in greyish yellow spots on leaves. 

Scale Mytilaspis  sp. (Diaspididae: Hemiptera) 

  • Adult are small, dull coloured with transparent shiny lace like reticulate wings. 
  • Scale infests green berries, panicles stalks and pseudostem with in the leaf sheath. 
  • Infestation leads to shriveling of berries.

Hairy caterpillars,  Eupterote cardamomi E. canaraica E. fabia E. testacea (Bombycidae: Lepidoptera)

  • Caterpillars are gregarious in habit. They congregate on trunk of shade trees and then drop on to cardamom plants.
  • They fed voraciously on leaves and defoliate whole cardamom plants. 
  • E. cardamomi: Larva is robust, bluish black with pale brown head, white hairs and dorsal conical tuff of hairs. Adult is a large moth, pale yellow with wavy lines and a series of spots near the outer margin of wings
  • E. canaraica: Larva is robust with red head and black ‘V’ shaped vertex border. Adult is a large moth brownish yellow with two diagonal bands and zig-zag lines on wings. 
  • E. fabia: Larva is robust, dark purplish brown with black head, grey tipped long hairs and red prolegs. Adult is a large bright yellow moth with prominent black wavy lines and patches on wings. 
  • E. testacea: Larva is robust with yellow head having dorsal conical tufts of green hairs and dark marking: mid– dorsal silvery white lines. Adult is a yellowish moth with faint wavy black lines on wings. 
  • Lenodera vittata (Lasiocampidae: Lepidoptera): Larva is robust. It is densely hairy with two prominent transverse rows of black bristles on each segment, long dorsal yellow hairs on metathorax and first abdominal segment, and laterally directed black bristles. Adult is a robust moth with under developed wings. Male is bright reddish brown with fore wing having a white streak below costa. Female is pale yellow brown with a slight red tinge on wings. 
  • Euproctis lutifacia (Lymantriidae: Lepidoptera): Larva is small, pale brown with tufts of brown hairs on the dorsum of first and second abdominal segments and eversible glandular organ on 6th and 7th abdominal segments. Adult is a vinous brown moth with orange red lines on the fore wings. 
  • Alphaea biguttatta (Arctiidae: Lepidoptera): Larva is black with dorsal and dorso-lateral prominent black hairs. Adult is with a curved white band along the fore wings. 
  • Pericallia ricini (Arctiidae: Lepidoptera): Larva is black with brown head having long brown hairs. Adult is grey coloured with dark spots on pinkish hind wings.


Cut worm or tobacco caterpillar Spodoptera litura Noctuidae Lepidoptera

  • Damage is more during June-July and September-October. 
  • larvae feed on leaves  

Green looper Synegia sp. (Geometridae: Lepidoptera)

  • This is a pest in Kerala that causes serious defoliation. 
  • Larva is dark green and feeds on leaf lamina. 
  • Moth is yellowish with orange coloured spots on wings. Pupation occurs in leaf-folds. 

Mussel Scale Lepidosaphes cornutus (Diaspididae: Hemiptera)

  • Incidence is more during March-August when higher temperature prevails. Karpuri is the susceptible variety. 
  • Nymphs and adults congregate on all plant parts except roots and desap. 
  • As a result, leaves turn cup-like and curled.
  •  When incidence is on main stems, entire vine dries up. 
  • Female is boat shaped, broad at the posterior end and tapering towards head. Body is covered with hard scale. Males are winged. Parthenogenesis and viviparity are the common modes of reproduction. 

Mealy bugs Ferrisia virgata Pseudococcidae Hemiptera

  • Nymphs and adults congregate on tender parts like shoot tips, leaves, petioles, and stem in the form of white cottony masses. Infested leaves become small and tend to crinkle. Incidence is noticed from July-October on varieties like Karpuri.

Shoot bug Disphinctus politus Miridae Hemiptera

  • It is widely distributed in Southern India. Nymphs and adults puncture tissues of tender leaves and desap. Infested leaves exhibit dry spots, shriveling, fading and drying. Adult bug is elongated and reddish-brown. 

Red spider mite Tetranychus spp. (Tetranychidae: Acarina)

  • Incidence is noticed during the summer months (March-July). 
  • Nymphs and reddish adults congregate on underside of leaf along a fine web and drain plant sap. On the corresponding upper surface, yellowish or dark red spots and rashes develop. 
  • Damage is more in the variety Karpuri.

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