India is the second largest producer of vegetables
after China. Our country has 10.295 Mha of its area under vegetable cultivation
owing to a production of 176.17 Mt with a productivity of 17.11t/ha (National Horticulture
Database 2016). Insect pests are one of the biotic factors which hinder the
vegetable production in India. Apart from direct damages, they also act as
vectors of many diseases. In vegetables, the crop loss due to sucking pests is
to the tune of 30-40 percent (Rai 2014).
These insects suck the sap from leaves, fruits, flowers and cause uneven
ripening and underdevelopment. The control of sucking pests is difficult
because they have high fecundity. Inorder to protect crops from pests, adverse
climatic conditions and to reduce dependency on frequent pesticide use,
protected cultivation practices are widely adopted in many parts of the world
including India. But these protected structures have limitations, particularly
with small insect pests which can easily enter through the physical screens
provided. Very small mesh size in nets may hinder natural ventilation of the

Inorder to curb insect activity, farmers use a wide
array of insecticides belonging to different classes. Even though chemical
control is the primary method to control the sucking pests, it has not been
found effective or fails because of rapid selection of resistant pest biotypes
of whitefly (Cahill 1995,
Denholm 1996), thrips(Epsinosa et al 2002), or aphids (Foster et al 2000). Botanicals like neem can be
efficient with low risk of resistance selection (Thoeming et al. 2003, Kumar et al.
2005) but suffer from rapid dissipation and degradation in tropical conditions
which reduces its persistency(Barrek et
al. 2004). So, the need of the hour is to shift to eco-friendly but
sustainable methods of pest management.

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Biointensive pest management (BIPM) is essentially
a component of IPM which will help to reduce dependence on chemical pesticides
and ecological deterioration. BIPM includes biopesticides derived from
microbials, parasitoids, predators, botanicals and all non-conventional methods
of pest control (Dhandapani,N. 2003).

In India, tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is one of the most consumed vegetable
crops. Tomato ranks third in priority after potato and onion in India. India
ranks second in the area as well as production of tomato. It is cultivated on
an area of 799M ha with a production of 19.54 Mt (National Horticulture Board
2016-2017 database). Tomato production under protected cultivation in the
tropics is extremely vulnerable to abiotic stresses
(temperature,humidity,airflow etc) (Ajwang
et al.2002) and to biotic stresses represented by insects (whitefly,
thrips, aphids) and plant virus diseases vectored by these insects. (Throngit et al. 1986, Premchandra et al. 2005). The damage that whitefly
causes on host palnts results from sap sucking, heavy deposition of honeydew,
plant disorders such as uneven ripening (Schuster et al. 1990) and spread diseases caused by different kinds of
Gemini viruses (Brown et al. 1995).
Thrips cause mechanical damage through feeding and oviposition and indirectly
by transmitting tospo viruses ( Premachandra et al. 2005). Aphids ( Myzus
persicae) are another pest group causing direct damage by sucking plant sap
and reducing overall quality and productivity. Often plants are attacked by
complex of these pests, which can lead to detrimental infections by more than
one type of virus. (Summers et al.2004).

Sticky traps- yellow, blue and silver are used to
monitor and control sucking pest populations in green houses as well as in open
field conditions. Yellow sticky traps suppressed whitefly populations, and may
be used to detect the first invasion and monitor populations of the greenhouse whitefly
(Gillespie 1987). Blue sticky traps (458-nm peak reflectance) were found more
efficient in catching thrips (Vernon and Gillespie 1990).

Entomopathogenic fungi such as Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae, Lecanicillium lecani are
being used for the control of sucking pests. They produce a variety of
extracelluar enzymes which can degrade the insect cuticle once they come in
contact with insect body (Cooper et al  1987).

Botanical pesticides are also in use in our country
since a century to minimize losses by pests and diseases (Prakash et al. 1990).Azadirachtin
is a natural biorational pesticide derived from neem tree. It is growth
regulating, anti-feedant and repellant compound for phytophagous insects (Menke
and Gerhard, 2009). It delays or prevents moulting, reduces growth and
development and oviposition and can cause significant mortality particularly in
immature (Coudreit et al. 1985,
Prabhaker et al.1989). Similarly
Karanjin oil from Pongamia are also used to control sucking pest populations in
many crops. Pongamia glabra commonly known as karanj is reported to be effective
against insect pests of stored grains, field and plantation crops, and
household commodities. More than 19 biologically active components have been
identified from this plant. Oil, methanolic seed extract, acetone leaf extract,
aqueous seed extract, chloroform seed extract and petroleum ether seed extract
of karanj have been evaluated and found to act as oviposition deterrents, antifeedants
and larvicides against a wide range of insect pests. Karanj based
extracts/formulations have great potential for sustainable integrated pest
management programmes (Kumar et al.
2012). Pongamia
oil reduced the survival rate of hoppers in rice (Mariappan et al 1988).

Predators are also an integral part in pest
management tactics. Green lace bug, Chrysoperla
zastrowi sillemi, (Esben-Peterson) (Neuroptera- Chrysopidae) has long been
considered as an important natural predator because of its potential to control
a variety of soft bodied insects like aphids, coccids, mealybugs, thrips,
psyllids,whiteflies and eggs and larvae of many lepidopterous insects and mites
occurring on various crops ( Rao and Satyanarayana, 1984). The larvae are
predatory in nature and the adults feed on pollen and netar. In order to
maintain the natural enemy population in the crop environment, banker plants
can be established. Banker plants are self –contained sustainable system that
supports non-pest prey species to support a continual source of natural enemies
that disperse into the crop in search of other pests. The banker plants are
mini-rearing system for the natural enemy. Growers see these plants as one way
of reducing the cost of bio-control agents (Matteoni )


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