WHAT IS PEST ON MILLETS – Study About Pest Affects Millets

Millets are indigenous to many parts of the world.The most widely grown millet is pearl millet, which is an important crop in India and parts of Africa.Finger millet, proso millet, and foxtail millet are also important crop species

In India, various alcoholic beverages are produced from millets.[31] Millet is also the base ingredient for the distilled liquor

Pest Affecting the Millets

Shoot fly             Antomyiidae: Diptera

Sorghum Shoot flyAtherigona varia soccata 

Cumbu Shoot flyAtherigona approximate

Tenai Shoot fly –  Atherigona destructor

Maize Shoot flyAtherigona orientalis 

  • It is a serious pest in early stage of the crop. Infestation is higher in July – August and October – November. They cause 30 to 80 % damage.
  • Dead heart, Chaffy thin panicles, Production of secondary and tertiary tillers and Rosette appearance of the plant are the symptoms of damage.
  • Whitish grey small fly, Maggot dirty white
  • After hatching maggot bores the stem near the soil level. 
  • Pupates at the base of the stem or in soil 

Stem borers

Sorghum borer – Chilo partellus – Crambidae, Lepidoptera 

Pink borerSesamia inferens – Noctuidae, Lepidoptera 

White borerSaluria inficita – Phycitidae, Lepidoptera 

Chilo partellus

  • Infests after one month of sowing
  • Young caterpillar mine the midrib, cause shot holes on leaves  
  • Dead heart & bore holes on stem are the symptoms of damage
  • Adults medium sized moth, Lay flat and oval eggs in batches, Larva Yellow with brown head, Pupates in stem

Sesamia inferens 

  • Pink larva with dark head
  • Adult – Stout, straw coloured moth with white hind wings, Pupates in stem

Saluria inficita 

  • Specific pest on Ragi in south India
  • Larva – white with yellow head, 
  • Adult – Fore wings dark brown with pale white band along the margin, Hind wing white

Root feeders

White grub  Holotrichia consanguinea   Melolonthidae: Coleoptera 

Root aphid  Tetraneura nigriabdominalis  Aphididae: Hemiptera 

  • Root aphid is an occasional pest on Ragi and cumbu. Severe in irrigated crop
  • Plants turn pale yellow and become stunted
  • Aphids – pink in colour 
  • Ants attend them for honey dew

Ear head feeders

Gram caterpillar–     Helicoverpa armigera    Noctuidae, Lepidoptera

Ear head caterpillarSitotroga cerealella    Gelechiidae, Lepidoptera 

Web worm–          Cryptoblabes gnidiella    Pyraustidae, Lepidoptera 

Semilooper–     Antoba silicula        Noctuidae, Lepidoptera 

Gall midge–        Contarinia sorghicola       Cecidimyiidae: Diptera 

Ear head bug–     Calocoris angustatus    Miridae: Hemiptera 

Ear head beetle–     Cylindrothorax teunicollis     Meloidae: Coleoptera 

  • Gall midge is more common in hybrids. Adults are bright orange, Lay Eggs in the florets, Maggot feeds on the developing grains and pupates inside. Pupal case attaches to tip of the floret, Under go larval diapause in soil debris, Three to seven days old ear heads are susceptible
  • Ear head bug is a potential pest on irrigated sorghum, cumbu, tenai, maize. Severe damage caused during April – June. Suck the sap from grains and make them chaffy. Adults green, Lay blue eggs in the florets

Leaf feeders

Red hairy caterpillar Amsacta albistriga, A.moorei  Arctiidae:Lepidoptera 

Black hairy caterpillar Estigmene lactinea    Arctiidae: Lepidoptera 

Cutworm     Spodoptera exigua            Noctuidae: Lepidoptera

Ash weevils Myllocerus maculosus,M. discolor  Curculionidae: Coleoptera 

Flea beetle Chaetocnema pusaensis         Alticidae:  Coleoptera 

Leaf beetle Monolepta signata            Galerucidae: Coleoptera 

Leaf roller Marasmia trapezalis              Pyraustidae:Lepidoptera 

Slug caterpillar Thosea apeirens              Cochlidiidae:  Lepidoptera

Chafer beetle    Oxycetonia versicolor        Cetonidae: Coleoptera 

Surface grasshopper    Chrotogonus sp.        Acrididae: Orthoptera 

Deccan grasshopper    Colemania sphenarioides    Acrididae: Orthoptera Wingless grasshopper      Neoorthacris simulans    Acrididae:  Orthoptera

Sap feeders

Aphids Rhopalosiphum maidis    Aphididae: Hemiptera 

Whitefly    Neomaskellia bergii    Aleurodidae: Hemiptera 

Mealy bug    Heterococcus rehi    Pseudococcidae: Hemiptera 

Plant bugs Nezara viridula, Dolycoris indicus Pentatomidae: Hemiptera 

Pyrilla  Pyrilla perpusilla         Lophopidae: Hemiptera 

Fly like bug    Proutista moesta    Derbiidae: Hemiptera 

Shoot bug    Perigrinus maidis     Delphacidae: Hemiptera 

  • Infestation starts one month after sowing. Hopper like bugs live within the leaf whorl; yellowish brown.Suck the sap from leaves. Yellowing, stunted growth, twisting of the top leaf are the symptoms. Honey dew secretion favours sooty mould growth. Brachypterous and macropterous forms are present. 

Non insect pest


Mite– Oligonychus indicus       Tetranychidae: Acarina

  • Suck the sap from leaves and cause reddish patches.
  • Entire leaf turns into red
  • Improper ear heads
  • Nymphs and adults spin fine webs and Live in colonies

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