Epilachna- The Hadda Beetle |Life Cycle |Damage
Epilachna dodecastigma (Mulsant)
Epilachna vigintioctopunctata (Fabricius)
The hadda beetles take up different solanaceous vegetable plants like brinjal, potato, tomato and bittergourd.
General appearance :
Two species of hadda beetles viz., Epilachna dodecastigma and Epilachna vigintioctopunctata are common. Beetles are about 8 mm in length and 5-6 mm in width. Adults of E. dodecastigma are deep red coloured having 7-14 spots on each elytron.
Life history :
The beetle passes the winter season in hibernating phase of life, in the heaps of dry plants, cracks and crevices or in the soil. In the months of March-April they become active and female beetles start egg laying in clusters of 13-50 eggs each on the under surface of the leaves. One female can lay about 300 eggs during her life span. The eggs laid are yellow coloured and cigar shaped. After the incubation period of 2-3 days in summer and 4-9 days in winter eggs are hatched into grubs measuring about 8 mm in length and 4 mm in breadth. After passing through 4 different instars of 2-9 days each, the grub attains full grown stage and changes into pupal stage and is found fixed on the leaves, stem or the base of plants. The pupa is yellow orange in colour having brown white margins on the upper surface. The pupal period lasts for 2-9 days. The life cycle is completed within 12-54 days. The pest completes 7-8 generations per year in plains while only one in hills. In plains the pest population reaches maximum from late April to early May. In hot and dry conditions beetles are unable to survive so that their population falls to the minimum level.
The adults and grubs both are destructive stages. The adults feed on the leaves in a semi-circular pattern in rows, whereas, grubs nibble and scrape the upper surface of the leaves. The infested leaves then turn brown, dry and fall off resulting into complete defoliation of plants.
Prevention and control :
- The adults and eggs should be picked-up by hand and destroyed.
- Spraying of diazinon 0.02% and malathion 0.05% can minimize the pest population.
- Methyl parathion 0.02% spraying also minimizes the pest population.
- The fields of vegetable crops should be irrigated at the time of severe infestation of dodecastigma to minimize the damage.
- The effective control measure should be applied to control dodecastigma particularly when the weather temperature is found to be about 25°C.
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