Leucinodes orbonalis, The Brinjal Borer

Host: This is a pest of brinjal (Solanum melongena) but also attacks other solanaceous plants.

Damage: Younger larvae bore into the midrib and petiole of the leaf, resulting in drooping of the leaves. Larvae also feed on the tender leaves and flower buds causing dead heart. Fruits are attacked by making a hole near the basal part and tunnelling inside. Fruit pulp is eaten up. A single larva can destroy several fruits.

Life cycle: Adult moth is whitish in colour with irregular reddish-brown markings on both wings and having a wing span of 1.5-2.0 cm. Longevity of the adults is about a week and fecundity varies between 150 to 250 eggs per female. Eggs, which are whitish and flat, are laid singly on the tender shoots or on fruits and hatch in 3-5 days. Young caterpillars are creamish in colour but full-grown larva is pinkish with brownish head and scattered hairs and warts on its 1.5 cm long body. There are 5 larval instars and the larval period varies between 15 and 25 days. Pupation takes place in a tough grayish to dull brownish elongated cocoon, usually in hidden portions of the plant. Pupal period is 6-8 days.

Distribution: Countrywide distribution in India, Burma, Sri Lanka Congo, Malaysia, South Africa.

Control: Damaged shoots and fruits should be removed and burnt. Spray of 0.1% of carbaryl, sevimol, endrin, diazinon, malathion or endosulfan or cypermethrin 0.025% should be timed with egg laying and larval emergence.

Conservation of the following larval parasitoids brings down population:  Cremastus, Pristomerus, Bracon, Shirakia, Iphiaulax sp.