Sustainable management of chickpea pod borer: a review
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The pod borer [Helicoverpa armigera Hubner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)] is responsible for causing up to 90% damage in chickpea due to its regular occurrence from the vegetative growth to the pod formation stage. In order to manage this problem, growers are tempted to increase the amounts of pesticides, but indiscriminate or injudicious use of pesticides has resulted in residues in the food chain, pesticide resistance, and pest resurgence, in addition to causing harm to non-targeted beneficial organisms and the environment. Here, we reviewed the sustainable approaches to reduce the incidence of pod borer and achieve sustainability in chickpea production systems through the adoption of an integrated approach involving host plant resistance, good agronomic practices, and judicious use of chemical and biological methods. We found that the following major points have been reported to reduce the survival and damage of pod borer: (1) use of resistant varieties (the cheapest and the best method of pod borer management); (2) implementing a number of good agronomic practices, such as early sowing with optimum planting density and fertilizer levels, including inter/trap crops (coriander, mustard, linseed, sunflower, sorghum, and marigold) and installing animated bird perches and T-perches at 2 m distance of predatory zones; and (3) monitoring pod borer through pheromone traps (which is also necessary to understand the major factors influencing pest population and to make the pest control program more effective). Integrating all of these approaches with biological control has shown some encouraging results for sustainable pod borer management and has resulted in high chickpea yields. This review highlights examples of successful management approaches from past studies that were implemented in experimental and farmers’ fields. These approaches can be explored as reproducible practices for managing the pest in locations with similar H. armigera concerns. We conclude that an integrated approach is most effective for long-term sustainable management programs.