SugarCane Pests – Study About Pest – Sugarcane production – Free Study guide

PESTS ON SUGARCANEEarly shoot borer – Chilo infuscatellus (Crambidae: Lepidoptera)
  • P
  • refer 1-3 months old crop. Caterpillar enters the stem by making holes above the ground level. 
  • Formation of “dead heart” is the symptom. Affected plants can be easily pulled out. Rotten portion of the dead heart emits an offensive odour.
  • High temperature, low humidity, scanty rainfall, poor irrigation and drought favours high incidence. 
  • When the mother shoot is killed, subsequent shoots are produced
  • Adult has pale greyish brown forewings and white hind wings. 
  • Eggs are laid in batches on the under surface of the leaves. Egg period is 3-4 days. Larva has 5 violet stripes dorsally and dorsoventrally on it’s body and brown head.It may migrate and attack many shoots. 
  • Larval duration is 30 days.  It pupates in the stem itself for 10 days.
  •  ETL: 15 % dead heart


Inter node borer Chilo sacchariphagus indicus (Crambidae : Lepidoptera)


  • This affects the crop after the 3rd or 4th month when internodes begin to form and continues till the time of harvest.
  •  Larva bores in to internodal region and feeds on the internal tissues and makes it red. A single caterpillar may attack many stems. 
  • Bore holes will be found plugged with excreta. Affected nodes become thinner. Internodes constricted and shortened with a number of base holes at the nodal region.
  • 20-50% damage results in tonnage loss and poor juice quality.
  • Moth is pale brown with white hind wings. 
  • Eggs are laid on leaf sheath in batches. Egg period is 3 days. 
  • Caterpillar has a white body with 4 violet or pink stripes and light brown head. 
  • Larval period is 30 days. 
  • It pupates in the leaf sheath for 7 days.
  • Top borer Scirpophaga excerptalis  (Pyraustiidae : Lepidoptera)


    • It occurs in the later stage of the crop growth and may persist till harvest.
    •  It accounts for 20% damage. Results in low juice quality and early maturity of the crop. 
    • Larva tunnels in to the midrib of the leaves leaving red marking and move towards the central core of leaves (shoot ). feed on the growing point that gives a bunchy top appearance
    • Adult moth is white coloured with crimson coloured hairs at the end of abdomen of female. Eggs are laid in cluster near the midribs of the leaves. 
    • Egg period is 6-11 days. Larva dull creamy yellow with a red coloured mid dorsal line. Larval period is 25-42 days. It pupates in the stem for 12-21 days

    Sugarcane leaf hopper Pyrilla perpusilla  (Lophopidae : Hemiptera)


    • It is found in colonies on the lower surface of the leaves. Nymphs and adults suck the leaf sap causing yellowing and drying of leaves. Secrete honeydew  which attracts the black fungus.
    • Adult is moth like, brown in colour with wings folded roof like on the back. 
    • The head is extended like a beak.  It lays eggs in clusters of 20-25 on the under surface of the leaves and covered over by a white filamentous material. 
    •  The nymph is pale brown with a pair of long wax covered anal process. 
    • Easterly winds, high humidity during May-June, intermittent drought during July to September, heavy manuring and irrigation and luxuriant growth of the plants are factors which favour the multiplication of the pests.

    Scale –Melanaspis glomerata (Diaspididae : Hemiptera)


    • Found on the nodes.  At times, they are also seen on the leaves. 
    • They desap the cane and cause shrivelling of plants, stunted growth and reduction in sucrose content. The infestation is severe in a ratoon crop.
    • Yield reduction may go upto 63%. Summer drought favours the spread of these pests. The well spread out intermittent rainy weather provides the high humidity for the rapid build up of it’s population.
    • It is greyish black or brown circular scale. The female is ovoviviparous and males are winged
    Mealy bug –Kiritsltenkela saccltari (Pseudococcidae  Hemiptera)


    • It is found in the leaf sheath near the nodes. Generally attacks crop of 6 months or above and ratoons. 
    • Nymphs settles down on the leaf sheath and suck the sap. Ants are associated with the honey dew secretion of the insect. 
    • They are oval pink and soft bodied protected by white mealy coverings.

    White flies Aleurolobus barodensis (Aleyrodidae : Hemiptera)
    • Stunted growth and yellowing of leaves turns pinkish later. 
    • Adult is small pale green with grey wings. 
    • The nymph is oval, flat and brownish with a white waxy fringe and white meal all over. The life cycle occupies 28-35 days


    Black winged fly like bug Proutista moesta (Derbidae : Hemiptera)


    • Nymphs and adults suck the sap from the plant. 
    • Adult small with long wings.


    Aphids Melanaphis sachari and M. indosacchari     (Aphididae : Hemiptera)

    • It infests the leaves and suck the sap. Transmit grassy shoot and mosaic diseases.

    Wooly aphidCeratovacuna lanigera (Homoptera: Aphididae)

    • It is a small insect, wingless and fragile with a white woolly covering over the body. From a distance the leaves of the infested plants appear white and associated with growth of sooty mould fungus and visiting of ants.
    • The sugarcane woolly aphid, appears different from the regular aphid species in that the body is not pear shaped, the tip of the abdomen is not pointed and the pair of horn like cornicles at the posterior of its back are not well developed as typical to aphids. It has a woolly white coating over its body. 
                                     Skipper –Telicota (=Astychus) augias Moore.(Hesperiidae  Lepidoptera)
    • Larva folds the leaves in to tubular cells and feeds. Adult is brownish black butterfly with yellow patches on wings. Larva is green coloured with constricted neck.

    Termites Odontotermes obesus (Termitidae : Isoptera)
    • Poor germination of setts (after planting) characteristic semi circular feeding marks on the leaves in the standing crop. 
    • Entire shoots dries up and can be pulled out. 
    • Setts hollow inside and may be filled with soil. 
    • Cane collapses if disturbed. Rind filled with mud.

    White grub Holotrichia consanguinea (Melolonthidae : Coleoptera)

    • Fleshy grub feeds on the root lets results in drying of crown, wilting and drying of leaves. 
    • Affected cane comes off easily when pulled. 
    • Grub is fleshy, ‘C’ shaped, whitish yellow in color found close to the base of the clump. 
    • Adult is dark brown beetle.

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