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Eco-frendly management of brinjal fruit and shoot borer, Leucinodes orbonalis Guenee (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae).

A field survey, and an experiment were conducted to study eco-friendly management of brinjal fruit and shoot borer, Leucinodes orbonalis Guenee (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Information was collected from 60 brinjal growers (30 each from Chitwan and Dhading district) using structured questionnaries. Field experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications and five treatments, such as: i) Physical barrier (nylon net); ii) shoot clipping weekly; iii) physical barrier + shoot clipping; iv) NPV (100 LE l ml/lit) + Margoson (0.05 azadirachtin) ( 5 ml/litre) weekly spray; and v) untreated control. Each plot consisted of 6 m x 5.4 m (32.4 m2) area with 72 plants (spacing RR 75 cm x PP 60 cm) in each. Field survey revealed that brinjal occupied an important place in commercial vegetable production due to its longer harvesting period, higher yield, and off-season marketing potentials. However, farmers relied on heavy use of pesticides on a schedule application basis that resulted in build up of insect population mainly, L. orbonalis, causing higher infestation on crop during summer and rainy season. Field experiment showed that all treatments except clipping in open field were significantly different from the untreated control on shoot damage, fruit infestation by number, fruit infestation by weight, and marketable yield. The highest marketable fruit yield (10.68+4.30 t/ha) was harvested from the use of barrier + clipping practices followed by use of barrier alone (10.29+1.80 t/ha), use of NPV + Margosom (6.13+2.1 t/ha), and untreated control (5.35+1.10 t/ha). The marketable yield increment over untreated control was the highest in barrier + clipping (44%), barrier (40%, and NPV + Margoson (9%), respectively. Similarly, the highest yield loss reduced by the use of barrier + clipping (20%), barrier (17%), NPV + Margosom (16%), and clipping (8%). Barrier + clipping had the lowest shoot damage (0.91+0.57%) followed by barrier alone (1.33+0.41%) and the shoot damage in other treatments, such as shoot clipping, untreated control, and NPV + Margosom was 2.31+0.68%, 2.41+0.54% and 3.42+0,81%, respectively. Similarly, fruit infestation for number, and weight of fruit was the lowest in the use of barrier + clipping (15.00+5.7, 14.10+3.5%), followed by use of barrier (17.10+3.13 and 15.8+4.25%),  NPV Margosom (34.51+1.76 and 31.62+2.64%), clipping (38.00+8.73 and 42.00+4.73%) untreated control (42.30+4.56 and 43.57+8.9%), respectively. The natural parasitism of L. orbonalis population reached on an average of 23.33% by hymenopterous parasite during May-June. All treatments are eco-friendly while use of barrier + clipping was the best for farmers practice in small scale production, especially for off-season production. It also resulted low fruit damage (13.8%) than farmers practice (15-16%) but it's recommendation in commercial scale requires further varification under farmers' field conditions. All eco-friendly practices tested against L. orbonalis have no ecological hazards like with insecticides; they rather promote regulation of insect population and natural balance with long term advantage.

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