Pest Affecting moringa, drumstick tree, horseradish tree, and ben oil tree or benzolive tree – Free Study Material


Moringa oleifera is a plant that is often called the drumstick tree, the miracle tree, the ben oil tree, or the horseradish tree. Moringa has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties and health benefits. It also has antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pod fly Gitona distigma (Drosophilidae: Diptera)

  • Aematurely and full-fed caterpillars come out or pupate in minute brownish cocoons, either in soil or on ground itself, below dried leaves and debris. 

Leaf caterpillar Noorda blitealis (Pyraustidae: Lepidoptera)
  • It is a sporadically serious pest of drumstick trees especially in south India. 
  • Adults are medium sized moths. Fore wings are uniformly dark in colour with a small white streak at inner area of base. Hind wings are hyaline with broad black marginal band towards anal side.
  • Eggs are laid in batches usually on ventral surface of leaves. 
  • Caterpillars feed on leaf lamina, turning them into transparent parchment like structures and pupate in soil. 
Bark borer Indarbela tetraonis (Metarbelidae: Lepidoptera)
  • It has a number of host plants including drumstick trees in South India and causes severe damage. 
  • Attack is more pronounced on neglected trees and at places where crop sanitation is poor. 
  • Eggs are laid in cuts or cracks in bark of trunk or main branches of tree. 
  • On hatching, caterpillars feed superficially below bark, making zigzag galleries and later bore inside bark, or main stem, remain within these burrows during day but come out at night and feed on bark. 
  • Symptom of attack is presence of huge silken webbed masses comprising chewed wooden particles and excreta, hang loosely on tree trunk covering the entry holes. 
  • Full-grown caterpillars are stout and dirty brown in colour. Pupation takes place inside the tunnels. Pupae are also stout, reddish-brown in colour. 
  • Moths are pale brown. Forewings have prominent brown spots and streaks. Hind wings are whitish.

Hairy caterpillars Eupterote mollifera (Eupterotidae: Lepidoptera)
  • It is the most destructive and specific pest of drumstick trees in South India. 
  • Adults are large-sized moths with light yellowish-brown wings having faint lines. 
  • Moths appear with onset of monsoon and lay eggs in clusters on leaves and tender stems. Caterpillars feed gregariously by scrapping bark and gnawing foliage. A severe infestation results in complete defoliation of tree.
  • Full-grown caterpillars are brownish in colour and densely hairy.
  • Hairs are irritating to touch. Pupation takes place in soil. 

Pericallia ricini (Arctiidae: Lepidoptera)

  • It is commonly known as black hairy caterpillar and a foliage pest. Besides drumstick trees, it is reported on banana, black gram, cotton, cucurbits, castor, cowpea, soybean, tea and yam.
  • Moths are stout with fuscous-brown forewings having numerous pale black ringed spots in the interspaces. Hind wings and abdomen are crimson in colour having black bands and spots.
  • Caterpillars feed on leaf lamina, initially by scrapping epidermal layers and later by cutting lamina. 
  • Full-grown caterpillars are dark brown in colour, specked with white, and have dorsal and lateral tufts of long dark hair. 

Metanastria hyrtaca (Lasiocampidae: Lepidoptera)

  • It is generally called as gristly citrus caterpillar. 
  • It is a polyphagous pest and prefers several Citrus species. 
  • Caterpillars are nocturnal in habit and feed gregariously and voraciously. During day, they remain crowded on shady side of tree trunks. 
  • Eggs are spherical in shape and pale white in colour. 
  • Full-grown caterpillars are cylindrical in shape, greyish-brown in colour, stout and hairy. 
  • Adults are stout, greyish-brown moths exhibiting sexual dimorphism.
  • Male moths have pectinate antennae and chocolate- brown patch in the middle of forewings. 

Streblote siva (Lasiocampidae: Lepidoptera)
  • This is also a polyphagous pest, rose being its preferred host. 
  • Full-grown caterpillars are pale ochreous–brown in colour with small black spots and long lateral tufts of ochreous hair. 
  • Moth has grayish-white head and thorax and whitish abdomen. 
  • Fore wings are beautifully coloured with reddish-brown spot ringed with white. 
  • Hind wings are white with slight fuscous on outer margin. 

Longicorn beetles Batocera rubus (Cerambycidae: Coleoptera)
  • Grubs make zigzag burrow beneath the bark, feed on internal tissues, reach sapwood and cause death of affected branch or stem. 
  • Grubs are stout, yellowish in colour. Pupation takes place within these tunnels.
  • Adults feed on the bark of young twigs and petioles. Adults are medium-sized beetles and yellowish–brown with white spots on elytra.

Aphids Aphis gossypii (Aphididae: Hemiptera)
Scale Insects Ceroplastodes cajani (Diaspididae: Hemiptera)
Bud midge Stictodiplosis moringae (Cecidomyiidae: Diptera)
Leaf eating weevils, Myllocerus spp. (Curculionidae: Coleoptera)

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