অসমীয়া   বাংলা   बोड़ो   डोगरी   ગુજરાતી   ಕನ್ನಡ   كأشُر   कोंकणी   संथाली   মনিপুরি   नेपाली   ଓରିୟା   ਪੰਜਾਬੀ   संस्कृत   தமிழ்  తెలుగు   ردو

IPM for sunflower

Sunflowers can be a high-risk crop because of potential losses from diseases, insects, birds and weeds. These potential risks require the farmers to follow integrated pest management (IPM) practices. IPM is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks and maintains pest populations below levels that cause unacceptable losses to crop quality or yield.  IPM also recommends the judicious use of chemical pesticides when needed and suggests ways to maximize effectiveness and minimize impact on non target organisms and the environment.


Also called as Darksided cutworm, Redbacked cutworm, Dingy cutworm.

Several species of cutworms damage young sunflowers at or soon after emergence. Small, transparent windows appearing in young leaves may be caused by small larvae not capable of eating through the leaf. Notches in the leaves or cotyledons may appear if sunflowers are planted into fields with existing infestations.

Life cycle : Depending on the species, the adult lays eggs in the soil in the late summer. Eggs remain dormant until the May/June period. Larvae emerge from late May to early June. They continue to feed and grow until about the end of June. When mature, larvae pupate in earthen cells near the soil surface. The pupal period lasts about three weeks.

Damage : Cutworm damage is caused by larval feeding and normally consists of seedlings being cut off from 1 inch below the soil surface to as much as 1 to 2 inches above the soil surface. Young leaves also may be severely chewed from cutworms climbing up to feed on the plant foliage. Most cutworms feed at night. During the daytime, cutworms usually are found just beneath the soil surface near the base of recently damaged plants. Wilted or dead plants frequently indicate the presence of cutworms. Cut plants may dry and blow away, leaving bare patches in the field as evidence of cutworm infestations.


  • Sampling should begin as soon as sunflower plants emerge, and fields should be checked at least twice per week until approximately mid-June. A trowel or similar tool should be used to dig around damaged plants to determine if cutworms are present, since missing plants in a row do not necessarily indicate cutworm damage.
  • Sowing sunflower seeds on ridges (6-8 cm height), in cutworm endemic areas
  • Release of Trichogramma chilonus@ 20000/acre
  • Apply insecticides like Carbaryl (Sevin), chlorpyrifos etc. Do not apply chlorpyrifos again within 10 days of the first application. Do not graze or feed treated forage.


This pest has been reported from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu causing crop loss up to 46 %. Widely distributed and mostly seen at seedling stage, sometimes found almost throughout the year. Summer crops are likely to suffer more with this pest than kharif crop.

Life cycle : Adults are greenish yellow, wedge shaped with a pair of black spots on vertex and a black spot on each of the forewings. Nymphs pale greenish almost translucent and walk diagonally. Female inserts eggs into leaf veins on the underside. Eggs hatch in 6-10 days and nymphal period is 7-9 days and the winged adults live for 2-3 weeks. The nymphs moult five times and the whole life cycle is completed in two weeks to more than a month and a half depending upon the temperature and humidity prevailing in the field. It completes 7-8 generations in a year.

Damage symptoms : The incidence would start from seedling stage and prevail right through entire plant life. The adults and nymphs suck the sap from the leaves. The infected leaves show pale yellow coloration. In case of heavy infestation, the leaves turn inwards. The leaf edges turn light pinkish brown. Stunted growth of plant, cupped and crinkled leaves, burnt appearance of leaf margins are symptoms of damage.


  • Close spacing reduces pest infestation particularly if the rainfall is heavy.
  • Apply adequate amount of nitrogen.
  • Mixed cropping of sunflower with cotton.
  • Intercropping sunflower with groundnut in the ratio 1:4.
  • Chemical control: Seed treatment with imidacloprid 48% FS @ 5-9 ml/Kg seed and imidacloprid 70% WS @ 7 ml/ Kg seed.
  • Spray imidacloprid 17.8% SL @ 40ml/acre diluted in 200 l of water.

White flies

This is a major pest of sunflower. Highly polyphagous generally appears from November to February. It is a serious pest in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharastra. In Tamil Nadu it found round the year.

Life cycle : Nymphs are oval, scale like and remain attached to the leaf surface. Adults are tiny, moth like with yellowish body and wings coated with milky white waxy powder. Eggs are laid singly on the lower surface of the leaves. Eggs hatch in about a week’s time. The nymph stage remains attached on the lower surface of the leaves and takes about 4 weeks to complete development. Number of generations varies between 12-15 per year.

Damage : Nymphs and adults suck the sap usually from the under surface of the leaves and excrete honeydew. Infestation causes a medium for growth of black molds. Later, when attack is severe, vitality of the plant is lowered. Leaves appear sickly and get coated with sooty mold. Stunted plant growth, shedding of fruit bodies, it also transmits the leaf curl virus.


  • Cultural control: Intercropping sunflower with groundnut in the ratio of 1:4. Whiteflies can be effectively attracted and controlled by yellow sticky traps, which are coated with grease/sticky oily materials.
  • Biological control: Spray neem product (5% Neem oil before egg laying) or 5 Kg/acre neem kernel extract with any sticky material
  • Chemical control: Seed treatment with imidacloprid 48% FS @ 5-9ml/Kg seed and imidacloprid 70% WS 7ml/ Kg seed.
  • Spraying of imidacloprid 17.8% SL @ 40ml/acre diluted in 200 l of water. or malathion 50% EC @ 400 ml/acre diluted in 200- 400 l of water.
  • Spray Triazophos (2.5 ml/l) or Prophanophos (2 ml/l).
  • Use of Synthetic pyretheroids increases the intensity of Whitefly.


Polyphagous pest, widely distributed. It is a major pest in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Cool and humid conditions are favourable for multiplication of the pest while heavy rains wash away the aphid colonies.

Life cycle : Nymphs are light yellowish green or greenish black or brownish. Adults are mostly wingless but few winged forms also seen. Winged and wingless forms breed parthenogenetically and hence population build up is quite fast. It has 12-14 generations per year.


  • Removing nearby weeds that may serve as a host for aphids before planting sunflowers can slow or prevent a serious infestation.
  • Aphids have several natural predators and parasites, including lacewings, ladybugs and the syrphid fly.
  • These beneficial insects usually provide adequate aphid control unless disrupted by a broad-spectrum, persistent pesticide, dust or ants protecting their source of honeydew. Regularly blasting the sunflowers with a strong spray can knock aphids off of the plants and clear dust, honeydew and sooty mold off leaves.
  • Excessive or fast-release nitrogen fertilizer encourages a flush of tender new growth that is particularly attractive to aphids.
  • Chemical : where an aphid infestation is particularly problematic or the aphid predator populations are disrupted, you may have to resort to chemical control. Thoroughly spraying the sunflowers with a narrow-range oil, neem oil or insecticidal soap kills aphids that the material comes into contact with, but has no lasting effect, allowing beneficial insects to return to the area and control aphids. Repeat applications are sometimes necessary. Applying a soap or oil to drought-stressed plants or when the temperature exceeds 900F can injure the sunflowers.


Peanuts, cotton and mungbeans are alternate hosts of mealybug.

Appearance : Adults of the female are around 3 mm long. Female adults and nymphs are oval-shaped and covered with a white waxy coating giving them a mealy appearance. Males are small aphid like winged insects.

Damage : The mealy bug nymphs and adults attack all parts of the plant including young shoots, leaves and head. They form colonies on shoots, leaves and head, developing into white masses. They cause direct damage by sucking plant sap the insect also produces large quantities of honeydew which encourages growth of black sooty mold on the leaves and twigs resulting in reduced photosynthetic capacity.

Growth malformation characterized by curling and crinkling of leaves. Heavy infestations result in plant death. Infested flowers often drop and usually there is little or no seed production. Sooty mold development on the plants and so reduced photosynthetic activity.

Management :

  • Cultural: Flooding of orchard with water in the month of October to kill the eggs.
  • Ploughing of orchard in November.
  • Raking of soil around tree trunk to expose the eggs to natural enemies and sun, removal of weeds
  • Fastening of alkathene sheet (400 gauge)/grease band of 25 cm wide afterwards mud plastering of trunk at 30 cm above the ground in the middle of December.
  • In July –August destruction of fallen leaves infested with scales
  • Mechanical control: Raking of soil around tree trunk to expose the eggs to natural enemies and sun, removal of weeds and releasing 10-15 grubs
  • Biological control: Releasing 10-15 grubs of cocinellid predator, C. montrouzieri per plant

Tobacco caterpillar

It is major pest of sunflower. It is cosmopolitan, highly polyphagous and is reported on sunflower in all sunflower growing areas.

Life cycle :

Egg masses appear golden brown. Eggs are round, white and covered with small hairs. Larvae are pale greenish with dark markings. Larvae are gregarious in the early stages. Pupa is brown and 1.9 cm long. Adult moth has dull brown forewings with wavy white markings, hind wings are hyaline. Hind wing white in color with a brown patch along the margin.

Eggs are laid underneath the leaves in clusters (200 - 300 eggs) covered with cream colored hairs and scales. Incubation period is 4-5 days, Larvae are gregarious when young, later disperse having 5-6 instars. Larval period lasts for 14-21 days; pupal period is 12-14 days. Pupation takes place in the soil. Longevity of adults is 9-10 days. Total life cycle is 35- 50 days, 6-8 generations per year.

Damage :

Early instars are migratory skeletonisers. The larvae feed on the tender leaves, shoots, bracts and petals. Later, the grown up larvae spread in the field causing defoliation. The larvae also feed on the developing seeds in capitulum.

Early instar larvae scrape on green matter that give a mesh like appearance to damaged leaves which can be spotted easily from a distance. Large irregular holes on leaves, defoliation occurs in severe cases. Appearance of deseeded heads in the field.

Management :

  • Cultural control: Intercropping sunflower with pigeonpea
  • Biological control: Spray 5% neem seed kernel extract preferably in the evening. Spray SlNPV @ 100LE/acre. Spray Clerodendrum inerme dust (25%) and plant extracts (10%).
  • Chemical control: Spray dichlorvos 76% EC @ 250ml/acre diluted in 200- 400 l of water.

Head borer

It is a serious and destructive pest of sunflower. Itis highly polyphagous with about 183 host plants including important crop plants such as pulses, cotton, vegetables, oilseeds etc. and the pest is prevalent throughout India.

Life cycle :

Eggs are spherical in shape and creamy white in colour. Larva shows colour variation from greenish to brown. It has dark brown grey lines on the body with lateral white lines and also has dark and pale bands. Pupa is brown in colour, occurs in soil, leaf, pod and crop debris. Light pale brownish yellow stout moth. Forewings are olive green to pale brown with a dark brown circular spot in the centre. Hind wings are pale smoky white with a broad blackish outer margin.

Adult female lays eggs singly on leaves, buds and Head. Incubation period ranges from 2 to 5 days, and the larval period lasts for 18 to 25 days. Pupation occurs in soil and the pupal period is 10-12 days. It takes 32-60 days to complete its life cycle. There are 8 generations per year.

Damage :

The larva is capable of developing on foliage which is rather less common in field situations. The larva consumes leaf in early stage of growth and move towards the capitulum and tunnel the head. On a bloom, usually larvae on hatching get into the bottom of the peripheral florets and feed on ovaries. During pre-anthesis stage, they feed scraping the bracts first and later feed through ray-florets which cover disc florets and finally find access to immature ovaries. The larval growth is better supported by developing seeds. The larva feeds on the developing seeds and bore the head.  Fungal development starts then and head starts rotting.

Leaves with irregular holes, damaged heads with seeds eaten and heads rotten due to fungal development are the common symptoms of the pest.



  • Sow 3- 4 lines of maize around the sunflower crop to monitor the moth. Intercropping with pigeonpea, groundnut, finger millet and soybean.
  • Sow trap crops like marigold at 50 plants/acre
  • Use of pheromone traps (4 traps/acre) for pest intensity identification as well as to trap the male moths
  • Setting of light traps (1 light trap/5 acre) to know the range of pest incidence as well as to kill moth population


  • Release predators like coccinellids, Chrysoperla carnea @1larva/ head.
  • Release parasitoides like Trichogramma spp. @ 20,000/acre
  • Spray 5% neem oil or 5% neem seed kernel extract
  • Spray Clerodendrum inerme dust (25%) and plant extract (10%)
  • Spray HaNPV 250 LE + Bt @0.5kg/ha for effective control
  • Spray HaNPV 250 LE/ha +1 kg Jaggery + 200ml Sandovit (or) Teepal; mixing and spray in the evening hours only
  • Spraying of 5% Neem oil or 5% Neem Seed Kernal extract before egg laying


  • Application of Carboryl 1kg/acre.
  • Spraying of Monocrotophos 2.0 ml/l of water or Endosulfan 3 ml/l of water or Quinalphos 3ml/l of water or Propenophos 2ml/l of water or Chlorophyriphos 2.5ml/l of water

Bihar hairy caterpillar

It is a major pest of sunflower. It is a polyphagous pest attacking sunflower, castor, cotton, greengram, bengalgram, maize and sunhemp. It is mainly a pest of rabi-summer sunflower in Maharashtra.

Life cycle : The adult is a medium sized brown moth with 40-50 mm wing span and a red abdomen. Wings are pinkish with numerous black spots. The larvae are covered with long yellowish to black hairs and are up to 5 cm long.

Eggs are laid in cluster of 50-100 on underside of the leaves. Larval period varies from 14 - 21 days. Pupal diapause is noticed. Pupation takes place in the soil under dry leaves. Generation time is 38 - 164 days.

Damage : The larvae are foliage feeders. Young larvae feed gregariously mostly on the under surface of the leaves. Caterpillars feed on leaves and in severe infestation the whole crop is defoliated. Drying up of infected leaves is the main symptom.



  • Pre-monsoon deep ploughing (two to three times) will expose the hibernating pupae to sunlight and predatory birds.
  • Timely sowing and clean cultivation.
  • Removal and destruction of alternate weed hosts which harbor the hairy caterpillars.
  • Use of well rotten manures.
  • Intercropping with pigeon pea at a row ratio of 2:1 is effective in reducing the insect attack.


  • Collection and destruction of leaves with eggs.
  • Collection and destruction of early instar larvae.
  • Collection of infested leaves which show characteristic drying symptoms will reduce the population to a great extent because of the gregarious nature of young larvae


  • Conserve the natural bio control population of spiders, long horned grasshoppers, praying mantis, robber fly, ants, green lace wing, damsel flies/dragon flies, flower bugs, shield bugs, lady bird beetles, ground beetles, predatory crickets, earwigs etc.,
  • Use of NPV (nuclear polyhedrosis virus) on cloudy days @ 500 LE/ha will be effective.
  • Spraying of Bacillus thuringenesis @ 400 g/ha or 1 g/l.
  • Conserve the braconids parasites


  • Dust Lindane 1.3% or Fenvalarate 0.4% @ 15-20 kg/ha.
  • Form a deep furrow trench around the field and dust with two per cent methyl parathion to prevent the mass migration of hairy caterpillars.
  • Spraying of quinalphos 25 EC @ 2 ml/l, or chlorpyriphos 20 EC @ 2.5 ml/l or endosulfan 35 EC @ 2.0 ml/l is recommended when the caterpillars are younger
  • Spray endosulfan 4% dust @ 20 -25 kg/ha or phosalone 35 EC @ 1000ml/ha
  • Dust 2 % Methyl parathion or Malathion @ 20 kg/ha
  • Spray Methyl parathion 50 EC @ 1 ml/l or Cypermethrin 10 EC @ 0.5 ml/l or Chlorpyriphos 20 EC @ 2 ml/l or Endosulfan 35 EC @ 2 ml/l or Lambda cyhalothrin 5 EC @ 0.5 ml/l
  • Spray 5 % Quinalphos 25 EC @ 2ml/l

Parakeet (Bird)

It is slim, green parakeet with the typical short, heavy, deeply hooked, red bill. Hollow space in a tree trunk is the nest of the bid.

Damage : The birds damage starts from the milky stage and continues till harvest. These consumes on an average of 152 seeds/day.


  • Establishment of scare crows in the field so as to distract the birds.
  • Bursting of crackers and carbide guns, tying polythene bags.
  • Use of bird scaring tape (reflective ribbon or bird scaring ribbon).
  • Using bio-acoustic method like pre-recorded distress calls to distract the birds.
  • Destruction of bird nest in and around the field.
  • Deploy two labourers per hectare to scare away the birds.
  • Pruning of perching and breeding places
  • Spraying of neem kernal powder solution at 10 g/litre of water after seed shedding repels the birds.
  • Use of bird proof nets.
Source: Ravi Yugandhar Panga, Research Scholar, Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University. Usha Kiran Betha, ICAr-Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad

Last Modified : 2/19/2020

© C–DAC.All content appearing on the vikaspedia portal is through collaborative effort of vikaspedia and its partners.We encourage you to use and share the content in a respectful and fair manner. Please leave all source links intact and adhere to applicable copyright and intellectual property guidelines and laws.
English to Hindi Transliterate