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Biological Control of Pests in Rice

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1. Exploitation of biological agents such as parasites,

predators and pathogens is a key component of rice IPM and can be a promising alternative to ecologically disruptive chemical control measures.

2. Inundative or inoculative releases of the egg parasitoid, Trichogramma japonicum ashmead against yellow stem borer and T. chilonis Ishii against leaf folder are effective and economical.

3.  Five to six releases of the egg parasitoid @ 1,00,000 adult parasites/ha starting from 15 days after planting, in a crop season is useful.

4. Careful integration with need-based application of insecticides and other components can take care of the multiple pest situations in rice.

5. In rainfed systems, however, maximizing the impact of rich and diverse in situ natural enemies can be more helpful. Implementation of IPM in rice with specific thrust on the conservation of already identified natural enemies can make it not only more profitable but also healthy for the farmers.

6. The natural egg parasitism of yellow stem borer due to Tetrastichus, Telenomus and Trichogramma is very high and needs to be conserved, while in case of gall midge, the high levels of egg-larval parasitism due to Platygaster oryzae Cameron can be exploited in the field.

7. The larval and pupal parasitism of leaf folder under natural conditions is also high and effective. In case of leaf and planthoppers, the action of predators such as spiders, Pardosa, Tetragnatha, Argiope, Araenus, Oxyopes and mirid bug, Cyrtorhinus lividipennis Reuter is more common and dominant.

8. The other general predators like dragon flies, damsel flies, ground beetles, staphylinids, and ear wigs also keep the pest populations at lower levels. Since the indiscriminate conventional chemical use has resulted in destruction of natural enemy fauna, judicious and need based application of safer insecticides is recommended.

File Courtesy: 
Technical Bulletin No. 10, Integrated Pest Management in Rainfed Rice Production Systems, Directorate of Rice Research.
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