Biological control of tea pests

by Dr. N. G. Hajra | Green Farming 1(3) : 9-13, 2007


Tea plant is an evergreen woody perennial grown mostly as monoculture provides suitable condition for the pests to feed on it and breed. Pest damage in tea often leads to a significant impact on productivity and quality of tea. The extensive use of chemical pesticides to control tea pests has had many well documented adverse consequences. Therefore, the present trend in pest control is to minimize the use of pesticide with optimum reduction in pest population. Biological control is one of the oldest and most promising lines of natural pest management that lends itself as one of the key elements to be integrated into a balanced holistic pest management programme.
A considerable number of natural enemies of tea pests have been identified and some of them have been proved capable under ideal conditions. The results of laboratory and field trials with microbial agents that includes bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa, and nematodes that are pathogenic or antagonistic to insect, plant pathogen and weed pests are discussed. The results of the bioefficacy of neem and other botanicals in controlling insect pests have been incorporated. The use of semiochemicals and oils, and antagonistic microflora in controlling insect pests and diseases of tea are also presented. The feasibility of using allelopathic properties of certain potential weed species in tea weed management has been explored. Limitation and future course of action for implementation of bio-control activities have also been discussed.