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Chilli tobacco caterpillar


Family : Noctuidae
Scientific Name : Spodoptera litura (F)
Order : Lepidoptera

This is a polyphagous pest mostly  damages  the fruits by boring  into it  and it can be seen in  post rainy  season. i.e from November onwards


Adult moths are Light brown with wavy white markings on the forewings and a brown patch along the margin of the white hind wings; larvae are grey or dark brown.Pupa is dark brown.




Life cycle:  

  • Eggs (up to 2000 per female), laid in masses of 230-750 and covered with brown hairs. Larvae hatch in 3-5 days and feed for about 28 days
  • Larval period lasts for 2-3 weeks. Pupation occurs in soil. Pupal period is 2 weeks. Total life cycle is completed in 30-40 days and takes 6-8 generations per year.


Egg mass

Nature of damage: 

Neonate larvae/ newly hatched larvae are gregarious. They scrape out the green matter in the leaf leaving the epidermis alone. The second and third instar larvae feed by making small holes, late instar feed on entire lamina, petiole, even the twigs on the terminal shoots of plants. During fruiting stage the larva scrape the fruits and feed on it.

Damage symptoms:

Small holes on leaves. Skeletonized leaves and the affected pods drop off or develop white color on drying.


                                   Holes on Leaves                                                                                              Scrape on fruit

 Affected pods develops white colour and drop off  on drying


Cultural and mechanical control:

  • Plough the soil to expose and kill pupae.
  • Collect and destroy the egg masses, gregarious larvae and grown up caterpillars
  • Set up pheromone trap @ 15/ha (sporelure)
  • Set up sex pheromone trap Pherodin S.L. at 12/ha to monitor activity of the pest and to synchronise pesticide application, if need be, at the maximum activity stage.
  • Growing castor along border and irrigation bunds, as trap crop.
  • Use of poison bait pellets prepared with rice bran 12.5 kg, jaggery 1.25 kg, Carbaryl 50% WP 1.25 kg and Water 7.5 litres and spread in the fields in the evening hours so that the caterpillars coming out of the soil feed and get killed.


                                Pheromone trap

Chemical and Biological control:

Karnataka: Spray Lufenuron 5EC @ 1.0ml/lit or novaluron 10EC @ 1.0 ml/lit of water.
Tamil Nadu: Spray SINPV @ 1.5*10 12 POB/ha in evening hour
Coimbatore: Spray Bacillus thuringiensis at 2 g/lit and Spray carbaryl 50 WP @ 3 g/lit or chlorpyriphos 20 EC 3 ml/lit or quinalphos 25 EC 2 ml/lit
Andhra Pradesh: Spray Acephate 1.5g or Chloropyriphos @ 2.5 ml or Thiodicarb  1 g or Spinosad 0.25ml
Spices database: Chlorpyriphos 20 EC@ 2.0/lit or Dichlorvos 76 WSC @ 1.0/lit or Phenthoate 50 EC @ 2.0/lit or Fenitrothion 50 EC @ 1.25/lit or Chlorpyriphos 20 EC @  625 ml Spray any one of the following insecticides per ha.
National Horticulture Board: Spray Chlorpyriphos 2.5 ml/litre of water or Quinalphos 2ml/litre of water or Endosulphan 2ml or Thiodicarb 1gm or Acephate 1g/litre of water  are recommended



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