A complex of webbers, loopers, bud worms, caterpillars etc occur on cashew flowers. Important species include,
- Hypatima haligramma M.
- Anarsia sp.
- Lamida moncusalis W.
- Nanaguna sp.
- Thylacoptila paurosema M.
- Archips sp.
- Euproctis sp.
- Aetholix flavibasalis G.
Other caterpillars are Dudua aprobola, Oenospila flavifusata, Tinolius sp., Perixera sp., Bombotelia jocosatrix etc.
- Infestation by lepidopterans especially by H. haligramma and Anarsia sp. starts soon after the emergence of inflorescences and panicle/bud expansion stage.
- The infestation by lepidopterans gradually increases from December first week reaching a peak during the last week of December or first fortnight of January.
- But the population of most of the lepidopteran species decreases drastically during March.
- Incidence of certain leaf feeding caterpillars like B. jocosatrix, O. flavifusata, Pingasa ruginaria, Perixera sp., Hyposidra spp., Euproctis sp. and A. flavibasalis can also be noticed on flowers between December and January especially during delayed flushing and early flowering seasons.
Symptoms of damage
- Damaged portions of buds, flowers, panicle rachis, drying of flowers, webbing of flower clumps and reduced nut set.
- In general, sprays taken up to manage TMB help in reducing most of the minor pests of cashew. But if management measures are not taken up timely, these inflorescence pests can cause significant yield loss.
- Studies indicate that timely application of insecticides against lepidopteran flower pests can minimize the yield loss by 20-50 per cent depending on the nature of pest infestations and damage intensity.
- Thus, though TMB damage is not seen, if inflorescence pests are severe, managing them at peak infestation period is essential to avoid yield loss.