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Keywords:

  • azadirachtin-A;
  • tetrahydroazadirachtin-A;
  • neem;
  • Bemisia tabaci;
  • Amrasca biguttulla biguttulla;
  • Earias vittella;
  • Earias insulana;
  • okra;
  • insect pests

Abstract

BACKGROUND Unlike synthetic pesticides, azadirachtin-based neem pesticides are environmentally friendly and are well known for their diverse pest control properties. Their use is, however, limited by the instability of azadirachtin, necessitating application at short intervals. The efficacy of relatively stable tetrahydroazadirachtin-A, therefore, needed to be established under field conditions.

RESULTS: Azadirachtin-A (Aza-A), its stable derivative tetrahydroazadirachtin-A (THA) and other neem pesticides have been evaluated for their field efficacy against major insect pests of okra, Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench., during summer (kharif) 2003 and 2004. The optimum doses of Aza-A and THA against the fruit borer, Earias vittella F., were also established. Reductions in population of whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Genn.), and leafhopper (jassid), Amrasca biguttulla biguttulla Ishida, after application of THA or endosulfan was evident up to 10 days after treatment (DAT), whereas with Aza-A and NeemAzal® (NZ) the effect was observed up to 7 DAT only. Endosulfan and THA also caused higher reduction in the larvae of shoot and fruit borer E. vittella and E. insulana Boisd., and recorded the highest yields of 4600 and 4180 kg ha−1. The efficacy of THA (0.05 g L−1 emulsion) was comparable with that of 0.5 g L−1 endosulfan emulsion in reducing fruit borer infestation, the reduction over the control being 86.0 and 87.3%, 84.9 and 94.1% and 90.2 and 92.6% at first, second and third picking. THA 0.02 g L−1 and Aza–A 0.05 g L−1 were on a par. Laboratory-made neem oil emulsifiable concentrate was the least effective, but was superior to untreated check.

CONCLUSION: Three consecutive sprays of THA, a neem-based biopesticide, and endosulfan have been found to be superior in controlling field pests of okra to Aza-A and NZ, which were on a par. THA thus holds potential as a component of pest management strategies against okra pests. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry