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Pest and Disease Management in Bottle Guard

Calabash or bottle gourd is a vine that is grown for its fruit. The bottle gourd crop is susceptible to infestation from several pests and can get several diseases. Let’s learn how to manage bottle gourd pests and diseases.

Aarushi Chadha
Bottle Gourd
Bottle Gourd

Calabash or bottle gourd is a vine that is grown for its fruit. The bottle gourd crop is susceptible to infestation from several pests and can get several diseases. Let’s learn how to manage bottle gourd pests and diseases.

Bottle gourd, calabash, or lauki is a vegetable that is grown and consumed around the world. When harvested young, calabash can be consumed as a vegetable. On the other hand, dried or matured fruit is used as a utensil and container. In India, the bottled gourd is used for culinary as well as medicinal purposes.

Bottle gourd is packed with vitamins and minerals such as fibre, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium vitamin C, phosphorous, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, and folate. In traditional medicine, bottle gourd was used to treat health conditions such as fever, cough, and asthma, and even improve the functioning of the liver and the quality of our skin. Bottle gourd is popularly grown in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Assam, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa.

Pest and Disease Management in Bottle Gourd

Pest Management

The most common pests that infest the bottle gourd crop are-

Fruit Fly- Adult fruit flies tend to lay eggs in clusters on fruits. Once hatched, the larva feeds on the internal tissues of the fruit causing premature fruit drop, yellowing, and rotting. It can be difficult to control fruit fly infestations because the flies lay their eggs inside the fruit, thereby, protecting themselves from insecticides. Fruit fly infestation can be determined by the presence of a puncture mark in the fruit which is oozing with brown juice. And infestation usually takes place during the humid and rainy seasons.

Thrips- Adult thrips, which are pale yellow or whitish in colour, tend to feed on new leaves. A female thrip can lay up to 200 eggs. During a thrip infestation, plants can suffer from great damage, and their growth can become stunted too because the thrips suck on the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits for food. Your crop is infested by thrips if you notice tiny black, brown, or yellow instincts on your crop.

Red Pumpkin Beetles- Red pumpkin beetles lay hundred of browning elongated effs near the base of the plant. Young and adult beetles bite holes in the leaves and also feed on the flowers.

In order to protect your crop from pest infestations, you must inspect your crop on a regular basis to look for puncture marks, discolouration, or premature yellowing of leaves and fruits. It is important to keep the crop free from all pests as an infestation can render the entire yield useless.

Pests can be managed by taking necessary preventative measures such as regularly mulching the soil, spraying organic pesticides and insecticides, attracting predators, raking the soil, and pruning and destroying infested fruits, stems, and leaves. In case of a serious pest infestation, chemical insecticides such as Cyantraniliprole, Dicofol, and Trichlorfon can be sprayed in safe quantities.

Disease Management

Alternaria Leaf Blight- Alternaria leaf blight is a fungal infection that causes small yellow spots to appear on old leaves and can also cause the leaves to curl and eventually die. This disease is prevalent during monsoon and can be managed by removing crop debris between each harvest, watering just the base of the plant, and applying an appropriate fungicide.

Powdery Mildew- Powdery mildew is a disease in which the affected areas start developing powdery whitish growth and dry prematurely. It stunts the growth of the fruits as well. This disease can be avoided by improving air circulation and by properly aerating the soil before sowing seeds. It can also be treated by spraying the leaves with baking soda and water in order to raise the pH levels.

Gummy stem blight- Gummy stem blight is a fungal infection that can be seed-borne. It causes the infected stems to turn yellow, develop lesions that ooze sappy material, and even form cracks. This disease can be avoided by crop rotation and using disease-free seeds.

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