Caribbean, Hawaiian pests detected in State


Caribbean, Hawaiian pests detected in State

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Jan 19: As an impact of global warming, mosquitoes have become quite common in the State during winter season too and pests generally found in much warmer Caribbean islands and Hawaii have been detected in the State .
Analysis of the State’s climatic data for the past 30 years by the Directorate of Environment’s Climate Change Cell revealed that the State’s minimum temperature rises by 1.8 degree Celsius and the maximum temperature by 1.5 degree Celsius every decade.
As a result of the rising temperature, many microorganisms and pests which were not found in the State in the past have been detected. Moreover, many endemic pests have become hyper active and they have been found attacking crops.
Dr Ningombam Arti who is working as a scientist at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Lamphelpat said that many new species of insects, pests and worms can be seen in dwelling areas as well as agricultural areas as a result of the global warming.
Spiralling Whitefly which is generally found in Caribbean islands has been found attacking U-Morok plants in the State. Mealybug is another pest native to Hawaii islands but it too has been found attacking pineapples grown in the State.
Dr Arti said that Spiralling Whitefly was detected in Manipur in 2015-16. There are reports of the particular pest infecting guava plants, banana plants, beans and Khamen Barmashika in Bishnupur district indicating that the climatic condition of Manipur is now favourable to the pest.
Mealybug is a carrier of virus and it has been found attacking pineapples grown in the State. As Mealybug can spread virus, it can do severe damages to pineapple cultivations in the State, Dr Arti said.
Informing that special research works are carried out in Hawaii to combat Mealybug, Dr Arti warned that using unsuitable pesticides can only multiply the fertility of Mealybugs.
Although paddy pests namely Rice Swarming Caterpillar and Ear Head Caterpillar are native to Manipur, they were not very active in the past. But on account of the rising temperature, they have become highly active and there have been reports of extensive damages done to paddy cultivations by the two pests, she conveyed.
Insecticides or pesticides are not effective enough to combat these pests but the traditional practice of tilling paddy fields during summer can eliminate the pests, she said.
Mosquitoes are found abundantly in the State during winter too as result of the climate change, Health Department’s Surveillance Officer Dr Gojen.
Mosquitoes which can spread Ebola and Yellow Fever are also found in the State. People of the State are safe only because the germs of these diseases have not yet reached the State, Dr Gojen said. He informed that reports of infection by Dengue and Japanese Encephalitis are received from different parts of the State during winter season too.
Informing that the Health Department would launch a surveillance campaign on Swine Flu, Dr Gojen conveyed that the department has been planning to launch awareness programmes on health issues related to climate change from the next financial year. Agriculture Director Ph Rajendro said that there is a contingency plan of cultivating maize to produce poultry feeds if there is excessive or deficit rainfall this Kharif season.


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