Termites : “silent destroyer”
Sugarcane is one of the most important sugar crops grown in India occupying an area of 5.03 million hectares with an average productivity of 70.86 tonnes per hectare . It is also regarded as one of the major cash crops of India. As compared to the national average, one of the causes of low cane yield in India is due to the heavy infestation of several species of insect pests. More than 280 species of insects have been associated with sugarcane in India, of which nearly 24 species cause heavy losses to the quality as well as quantity of the crop. Among different insect pests termite is major pest of sugarcane. There are 13 species of termite are reported to cause damage to sugarcane in India.
A termite infestation and damage can be devastating to your sugarcane crop. Termites are often called the “silent destroyer” because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in your crop without any immediate signs of damage. Adult termites may be workers, soldiers or breeders. Giant termite workers are white and 10-12 mm long. Soldiers are slightly longer and have powerful mouth parts. Breeders are wingless females (queens) and winged males and females which make new nests. The wingless queens are about 15 mm long. Winged adults have a body length of about 18 mm and including the wings are about 35 mm long.
Termite infestation in sugarcane occurs at two stages, first in the pre-monsoon sett sowing stage when the seed setts are placed in the soil for germination, and in the post monsoon stage when the cane is growing actively. At the sowing stage, termites enter the buds through some abrasion or injury or directly through the cut ends. The infestation during the germination of eye buds results in complete destruction of the mother shoot and tillers. Termite infestation caused 30-60% destruction of buds reported it as 40% which results in yield loss of 33%. Subterranean termites are the major problem attacking sugarcane crop from its germination through shoot emergence and finally it affects the quality of canes. At germination stage, the losses up to 90-100% have been recorded reported that termites live in the soil and damage sugarcane by excavating through the cane setts, leading to the death of buds and young shoots. Termite may attack any part of sett, but in the hard-rinded varieties, they prefer to attack the ends, eye buds and root bands.
The control of sugarcane termites is largely controled with the application of HPM’s Hi-Imida by indian farmers. Now it’s become a first choice of sugarcane growers. It’s unique modern and sure shot insecticide based on Imidacloprid a chlornicotinyl insecticide (CNI). It is a multiple usage insecticide used to control insect pests of cotton, paddy, sugarcane and vegetables. It is used as foliar spray for the control of sucking and other insects in different crops. Imidacloprid has a broad spectrum of activity, particularly against sucking insects, various species of beetles, some species of flies and leaf miners. There fields of use are termite and locust control. Its outstanding biological efficacy, especially its excellent root-systemic properties, its broad spectrum of activity, good long lasting effect – combined with low application rates and good plant compatibility, has made the product the first choice of the farmers. It can be applied to plants as a spray or stem paint or as a basal stem spray/drench. It can also be injected into plants or applied as a soil treatment use. The part of active ingredient taken up by the plant is further distributed in an acropetally direction.