Red Pumpkin beetle: Life cycle, Symptom, and Management

Red Pumpkin beetle: Life cycle, Symptom, and Management

Red Pumpkin beetle
Scientific name: Aulacophora foveicollis
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Chrysomelidae  

Red Pumpkin beetles are very serious, important and destructive pest of all cucurbits and occur  throughout the country. Adults beetles are 6 to 8 mm long and having glistering yellowish red to  yellowish brown elytra that are uniformly covered with fine punctures. Freshly hatched grubs are  dirty white in color where as full grown ones are creamy to yellow and about 22 mm long.

Life cycle of Red pumpkin beetle

Eggs are laid in soil around the host plant. Eggs are spherical in shape and yellowish  pink in color. Eggs are laid to a depth of 25 mm near the plant. A single female lays up to 300  eggs during its life time. Upon hatching the eggs into grubs they start to bore into the roots, stem  and later into the leaves. The larvae enter into the soil and pupation occurs into the soil. During  winter they hibernate into the soil and reappears onwards May. There are 4 molting stages and  are altogether 5-8 generation in a year. 

Eggs= 6-7 days——– Larva (Grub)= 13-25 days——– Pupa= 7-17 days —-Adult 

Nature of damage by red pumpkin beetle

  • Both adult and grub are destructive and cause direct damage to plant. 
  • Adult beetles feed voraciously on the leaf lamina and make irregular holes on leaf.  The maximum damage is done by adult in the cotyledon stage.  
  • The adult insect also feed on older leaves of plant by scrapping off their chlorophyll and thus  leading to leaves net like appearance. 
  • The attacked plants may wither away and photosynthesis is directly affected. The larvae cause damage by boring into the roots and the underground stem portion and also  by feeding on the leaves and fruits line in contact with the soil. 
  • The infested roots and the underground roots may rot due to infection by the saprophytic  fungi.
  • The young and smaller fruits of the infested crop may dry up, whereas mature fruits become  unfit for human consumption.

Management of red pumpkin beetle

  • Collect and destroy of beetles during morning hour in early stage of infection.
  • As insects pupate in the soil, deep ploughing should be done to kill grubs and pupae.
  • Use neem oil cake in the soil to kill the larvae. 
  • Practice early sowing so that the plant passes the cotyledon stage by the time the beetles  become active. 
  • Apply pupal parasites such as Opius fletcheri and O. compensans. 
  • Soil drenching with contact pesticides like Chlorpyrifos. 
  • Spray Endosulphan or Malathion @ 2 ml /liter of water for effective control. 

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