Birds control pod borers
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CTA. 1989. Birds control pod borers. Spore 19. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45005
If farmers can attract insectivorous birds to their fields, yields are likely to rise by more than a third. Such birds can reduce damage by pests, such as pod borers, very effectively. These are the conclusions from recent trials in Bangalore,...
If farmers can attract insectivorous birds to their fields, yields are likely to rise by more than a third. Such birds can reduce damage by pests, such as pod borers, very effectively. These are the conclusions from recent trials in Bangalore, India. Researchers from the University of Agricultural Sciences have been studying birds that fed on pod borers of field beans. Five species of birds were found to be important: the house crow, the house sparrow, the golden oriole, the black drongo and the mynah. At one time of year these birds were seen to eat as many as five to eight larvae per minute. Over the whole season the house crows, which were present at a population of about 200 per sq km, each accounted for four larvae per minute. Pod borers were not the only insects eaten. Analyses of the birds' crops showed that their diet consisted of about one-third pod borers, and about twice that for other insects, but whether some of these are beneficial has still to be verified. Some plant material was eaten by one species, the house sparrow, but it was far less than would have been damaged by the pod borers. At the site, with the highest bird population, crop losses resulting from pod borer were 22%, compared to 61% where bird numbers only 50 per sq km. The researchers conclude that encouraging insectivorous birds is a far more effective method of controlling nests for subsistence farmers than using expensive chemicals. Birds can be encouraged by providing niches for feeding, shelter and nesting in tree and shrub borders around the herds. Bamboo poles can be used to provide extra perching sites. For more details, contact: Department of Entomology - University of Agricultural Sciences - Hebbal - Bangalore 560 024 - INDIA