Threat to Bhagalpur Mango

Mango growers and horticulture scientists in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district are worried about the red-banded mango caterpillar affecting production this year.

This is the second consecutive year that the pest has affected the mango crop in Bhagalpur and surrounding areas, known for its famous Zardalu brand.

Last year too the insect affected output in the region known for its Zardalu mangoes. Some sections, however, feel the threat can be contained. Infestation has spread to the whole district this year from a few pockets last year. There were a few instances reported from Kahalgaon and Jagdishpur blocks last year. This year, however, the red banded mango caterpillar has visibly affected all varieties.

The insect ususally enters the fruit in the early stage and bores a hole, of which its larvae come out. This blackens the fruit. Little can be done to save the yield after the boring.

The red banded mango caterpillar affected mango crops in 2014 and 2015 too. It was assumed to be sporadic earlier; but in the last few years it seems to be a major pest of the region —  Bhagalpur, Banka, Munger, Jamui, Shekhpura — especially in some blocks like Nathnagar, Kharik, Sultanganj, Sabour and Bausi, according ot a Bihar Agriculture University research.

All mango varieties have been attacked, including Maldah, Bombay, Zardalu, Gulabkhas, Phajli, Ranipasand, Shankarbhog and Beeju (Desi).