- Sugarcane

Sugarcane Sugarcane

Internode Borer


Chilo sacchariphagus indicus

In a Nutshell

  • Shot holes in leaves.
  • Shortened internodes.
  • Internal feeding in stems and stalks.
  • Whitish larva with a brown head, longitudinal stripes and dark spots on the dorsal side.
 - Sugarcane

Sugarcane Sugarcane


The caterpillars first feed on the young rolled leaves causing shot holes. During the early stage of plant growth, they feed on growing points producing dead hearts. Internodes are constricted and shortened with a number of boreholes. When entering the stems and feeding on the inside they block the entry holes with excreta. The larva moves up within the stem tissues, causing redness and damaging the nodes. Plant stalks are weakened and are easily broken by the wind. Reduced growth is among the other symptoms.

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Damage to the plant is caused by the larvae of Chilo sacchariphagus indicus. The adult moths are small, straw-coloured, with white hind wings and a dark line on the margin of the forewings. They remain active throughout the year, with about 5-6 generations being completed in one year. Plants are normally affected from the early stage until the harvest. The larvae bore into the nodal region of the plant, enter the stem and tunnel upwards. Waterlogged conditions around the cane shoot favours the build-up of the internode borer, so does high dosages of nitrogen as well as low temperatures and high humidity. Other hosts are maize and sorghum.

Organic Control

For this pest, no biological pesticides are known, but parasitoids are able to reduce the incidence of internode borer. Inundative release of Trichogramma australiacum @ 50,000 parasites/ha/week. Release the egg parasitoid Trichogramma chilonis @ 2.5 ml/ha 6 times from the 4th month onward at 15 days intervals. Larval parasitoids are Stenobracon deesa and Apanteles flavipes. For the pupal stage, the parasitoids Tetrastichus ayyari and Trichospilus diatraeae can be released.

Chemical Control

Always consider an integrated approach with preventive measures together with biological treatments, if available. Spray monocrotophos, a contact insecticide, fortnightly during the growing seasons. Apply carbofuran 3G granules on the soil at 30 kg/ha if the damage is severe.

Preventive Measures

  • Use resistant varieties like CO 975, COJ 46 and CO 7304.
  • Select pest-free setts for planting.
  • Monitor crops regularly.
  • Collect and destroy eggs periodically.
  • Practice good hygiene management by removing and destroying weeds in and around cane fields, as well as careful conduct of your crop.
  • Remove the dry cane leaves from your field on the 150th and 210th day after planting.
  • Install pheromone traps @ 10 nos/ha for monitoring and change them once in 45 days.
  • Provide good conditions for beneficial insects and natural predators by not using too many pesticides.
  • After harvest, remove and destroy late shoots.

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