Agricultural Science

Pests of Agricultural importance

Biola Emmanuel - Tue, 19th March, 2019 @ 21:40: PM

What are Pests?

With regards to agriculture and plants, a pest is any organism that can attack plant and agricultural produce, rendering them unsuitable for harvest and unfit for the market. Pest can adversely  affect a plant's seed, leaves, root, stem and flowers thereby largely reducing the overall quality of harvested fruits and vegetables. 

Note: Generally, a pest can cause physical damage to humans, animals and crops.

An organism will be considered a pest if it does one of the followings:

  • Attack crop plants and eat vegetable and cereal crops. Examples are Locust and grasshoppers.
  • Cause damage to stored food, fruits or other agricultural produce. Some may even urinate or deaficate on these products. Examples are rodents and mice.
  • Attack and kill farm animals like goats, sheep and cattle. Examples are foxes, wild cats and snakes.
  • Are vectors (carry parasite and disease causing organisms), For example, rodents and mosquitoes.

 

Examples of crop pest includes:

1. Insects: Based on their mode of feeding, insect pest can be put into:

  • Biting and chewing insects (e.g grasshoppers, termites, army worms, beetles and locusts)
  • Piercing and Sucking insects (e.g aphids, white flies, mealy bugs and cotton strainers)
  • Boring insects (e.g several weevil species and stem borers)

2. Rodents

3. Monkey

4. Birds

5. Nematodes

6. Man

 

Summary of crops and the pest that attack them

  1. Maize: Maize weevils, birds, African black beetles, stem borers,  Greasy cut worm and army worms.
  2. Cereals: drugstore beetle, several weevil specie (rice weevil, maize weevil), confused flour beetle, red flour beetle, birds, saw toothed beetle, merchant grain beetle, rodents, several Aphids species and wheat bug.
  3. Beans: Bean weevil, seedcorn maggots, leafhoppers, aphids and spider mites.
  4. Cotton: cotton bollworm, plant bugs, cotton strainers, thrips, stink bugs, spider mites and aphids.
  5. Groundnut: red hairy caterpillar, jassids, aphids, snails, spodoptera and several thrips specie.
  6. Sorghum: corn earworms, sorghum webworms, sorghum sidge weevils, stink bugs, fall armyworms and aphids.

Note: cereals include crops like rice, maize or corn, Barley, millet, sorghum and oats.

 

Economic importance / Effects of crop pest

  1. They reduce the quality of crop produce.
  2. They make fruits and vegetables unattractive thus reducing their sales value.
  3. They destroy crops and plants.
  4. Some act as disease vectors, thus indirectly causing diseases.
  5. They directly cause diseases which may lead to complete death of crop plants.

 

Prevention and control of pest

1. PHYSICAL CONTROL: This process involves the physical removal of pest from crop plants via various techniques such as:

  • Hand picking
  • Setting of traps to catch rats and other rodents
  • Fencing the farmland
  • Use of guns to kill monkeys

2. BIOLOGICAL CONTROL: This method of pest control require the use of animals or other organisms to eliminate pest. For instance, placing hen or chickens in farmland to eat insects.

3. CHEMICAL CONTROL: This involves the use of chemicals to control pest. These chemicals can take different forms (liquid, powdered and granular forms). Chemical control of pest may involve the use of:

  • Pesticides: generally used to kill pests.
  • Insecticides: kills insects.
  • Fungicides: kill fungi.
  • Avicides: kills bird.
  • Rodenticides: kills rodents.
  • Nematicides: kills nematodes.

4. CULTURAL CONTROL: This method requires the application of various farm practices to control pest. These farm practices includes

  • Crop rotation
  • Bush fallowing
  • Regular weeding
  • Use of disease resistant seeds
  • Timely harvesting
  • Timely planting


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