Continuous warm temperatures for prolonged periods may have led to the serious Mythimna separata pest infestation in Assam that damaged paddy crop in at least 15 districts.
About Mythimna separata
- It is a typical long-distance migratory insect, is a major, polyphagous pest of grain crops in China and other Asian countries.
- The pest was first reported as a sporadic pest from Tamil Nadu during 1937 and Kerala and Odisha in 1957.
- The pest is known as the ear head cutting caterpillar, rice ear-cutting caterpillar, or armyworm.
- It feeds on leaves and can cut off panicles from the base of a crop plant.
- It frequently leaves the field looking like it has been grazed by cattle.
- During an outbreak, the pest multiplies in large numbers and moves in swarms from field to field, like an army, to feed and attack the crops.
- Favourable condition: An increase in temperatures with dryness creates a favourable condition for the pest population to increase.
What is a polyphagous pest?
- Polyphagous insect pests are primarily agricultural pests that feed on economically important agricultural and horticultural crops of wide taxonomic diversity across the globe.
Q1) What is Horticulture?
It is the branch of plant agriculture dealing with garden crops, generally fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants. The word is derived from the Latin hortus, “garden,” and colere, “to cultivate.”