College of Agriculture, Pune is Fighting Pests with Pests

College of Agriculture Pune

In view of the growing awareness to adopt organic farmingthe College of Agriculture, Pune, has started cultivating five species of friendly insects and bio-pests. 

45% of crop losses are on account of infection by pests that are resistant to pesticides and insecticides.  UB Hole, a Professor at the College of Agriculture, stated that, “The overt use of chemicals is also collapsing insect biodiversity. The natural predators who consume the harmful pests are disappearing, effectively retarding the natural pest management mechanisms.” 

Expressing concern over the decreasing population of mantises, beetles, honeybees and dragonflies, he said that they are primary controllers of pest population damaging the crops and their disappearance is a cause of worry. Endangering of honeybees has several other problems. Honeybees help in cross-pollination and can be credited with increasing crop production by 30% their reduction directly impacts production. 

honey bees

The five species of bio-pests cultivated in the college labs. They include ladybird beetle and Trichogramma chilonis which can be effective against the pests on sugarcane, rice, cotton, tomato and brinjal. A student of the college said that bio insects like Metarhizium anisopliae, Beauveria bassiana, and Verticillium having soil application can also be sprayed on the crops and they have proven to be successful in controlling pests. 

The habitats for these tiny entities aren’t created which is leading to the loss of biodiversity. 

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