- A NEW species of insect is damaging the chilli crop in several states in south India.
- Thrips Parvispinous, an invasive insect from Indonesia first seen in 2015, has spread rapidly, affecting chilli crop in nearly 9 lakh acres in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
- Scientists at Telangana State Agricultural University said the infestation is also seen in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “All the places where chilli is grown is infested by this species.
- The infestation is so severe that They found 20-25 insects on each bud or flower,’’
- Officials in both states said they were awaiting final recommendations from scientists of Institute of Horticulture Research, Bengaluru, who visited both states recently.
- Due to excessive use of pesticides, the insect has developed resistance.
- It has spread to vegetable crops, including drumstick trees also, and has been seen on cotton plants at some places.
- The quality and yield of chilli crop will be affected this season,’’
- Farmers in Warangal and Khammam in Telangana, and in Guntur, Prakasam and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh have uprooted the infested crop and sown alternative crops such as Bengal gram, Horticulture Department officials in both the states informed
- Dr T V K Singh, former Dean of Agriculture at Prof Jayashankar University, Informed that the infestation flared up from the first week of November. “Initially, it was mistaken for mites and farmers used wrong pesticides which led to the flare-up.
- Telangana Deputy Director of Horticulture who accompanied the team of scientists, said Thrips infestation was extensive in all the areas they visited.
- They also observed mite infestation, and viral diseases.
- Farmers were using fungicides and pesticides in excessive quantities without realising that it was helping the insect.
- AP Additional Director (Horticulture) said that chilli crop in Guntur, Prakasam, Krishna and Kurnool district were hit by Thrips.
- The problem was severe in Guntur but we launched a drive as early as November’s first week, asking farmers not to use too much pesticide and recommended use of neem oil and neem cakes.
What is Thrips Parvispinus?
- Thrips Parvispinus is an invasive insect species from Indonesia. It was first discovered in India in 2015.
- The insect species is affecting the plants at the flowering stage and stunting the growth of fruits.
- Each female Thrips lays eggs through Parthenogenesis (without requiring the male) and sucks the sap of leaf, flower and also the fruit, causing extensive damage to the crop within no time
What is Invasive Alien Species?
- Invasive alien species (IAS) is an exotic species that becomes established in natural or seminatural ecosystems or habitats.
- It is an agent of change and threatens native biological diversity.
Characteristics of an invasive species
- Very resilient
- Short life cycle
- Broad host range
- High dispersal ability
- Ability to withstand many environmental conditions
- High fecundity
- Voracious feeders
- Invasive insects in India have been a major threat to household commodities, human health, agricultural produce and environment.
- India is highly diversified in its weather and climate, which supports the establishment of various introduced insects from other parts of the world.
- Furthermore, globalisation has facilitated numerous introductions of invasive insect pests. There have been 23 invasive alien insects reported from India to date. .
- Biological invasion can be well regarded as a biological pollution which causes maximum losses to the biodiversity.
- Invasive species are threats to agricultural biodiversity as well as human and animal health.
Pathways of invasion
- The most common pathways include the sea, land or air. There have been several examples of entry of various species through these pathways into India.
- For example, cashew which is considered as one of the most important cash crops of India was introduced in the sixteenth century by the early Portuguese purposefully realising its importance, through their sea voyages
- Today, due to globalisation, the frequency of invasion and its consequences has increased exponentially.
- Some of the species were knowingly transported to a new ecosystem, while some are a matter of ignorance.
Introduced as contaminants.
- The trade of logs is considered to be one of the most profitable businesses. It provides a huge foreign exchange, but it comes with the consequence of introduction of alien species also.
- Being stored in godowns for a long period without any treatment makes these logs store house of many insects and pathogens. The importation of these logs also transmits their residing alien species
Living industry pathway.
- Living industry implies the trade of living organisms including landscaping or horticultural crops, agriculture, aquaculture/aquarium, pet trade and live seafood trade. There is every possibility that these living entities escort their respective pests while being exported.
- For example, Apple woolly aphids have been predicted to enter India through the importation of apple rootstock from England
- The increase in number of tourists has increased the chances of invasion by the following ways:
- Accidental introduction of insects or other organisms
- Unintentional transit of alien species from one place to another
- Cargo shipments by air, land and water
Management of invasive insects
- When the pest has not been introduced: Preventive measures are taken to avoid the entry of the invasive insect, viz. Pest risk analysis (PRA), quarantine and monitoring. This is the best way in managing the invasive species
- When the species is introduced but is not spread to nearby areas: Postquarantine measures are taken in such cases such as rejection of the consignment from which the pest has introduced and eradication by means of fumigation of the consignment lot.
- When the introduced insect has established itself: Various curative measures such as cultural, biological and chemical means of management are adopted.
- During the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, there has been a call from the Union and the host community in Hawaii, including experts, governmental and intergovernmental representatives, NGOs, and protected area managers for greater action on addressing invasive alien species in order to protect biodiversity and human wellbeing from their impacts
Q)Recently seen in the news, Thrips Parvispinus related to which of the following?
A) New Butterfly Species
b) Invasive Pest
c) Invasive Fish
d) Type of Alagea