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Insecta is the largest class of the phylum Arthropoda and the largest major grou

p of living things.it includes about 750,000 species that form about 75% of the
total animal species known.The class Insecta was originally called Hexapoda beca
use of having six legs.The insects are the most successful,most wide spread and
most adaptable animals.Most insects are free living,many are parasitic and are s
ome colonial and social.the majority of the Arthropod insects are the pests of p
lants and domestic animals and vector of human diseases. The insects are the mos
t powerful enemies of man.Man is engaged in a severe strugle with insects from t
imes immemorial,but has not succeeded fully inspite of his physical and mental s
uperiority and modern scientific inventions.The power of adaptibility of the ins
ects enables them to survive in any environment-in soil,in fresh water,in hot sp
rings,in plants and animals(dead or alive),in pods of crude petrolium.They survi
ve in extreme of temperature and drought by hibernation or diapause.All crops an
d their produts are attacked by pests.It has been estimated that about one third
of the potential yield of cultivatrd plants is destroyed by the pests in the fi
elds and godowns.Loss of the plants produce through pests not only adversely aff
ects the economy of thr country and the farmers but also deprives the needy peop
le of valuable food such as rice and wheat.Besides damaging the plants physicall
y,many insects pests transmit viral,bacterial and fungal diseases to the plants
on which they feed.To attain self sufficiency in food,which is the goal of our c
ountry,it is no doubt important to increase the crop yield,but it is more import
ant to protect the crops and their products from the pests.To achieve this,it is
necessary to have a thorough knowledge of the crop pests and the measures to co
ntrol them.This knowledge not only benefit the farmers and horticulturist but al
so the nation as a whole.Insects infestation causes considerable loss due to the
tunelling activity of the larvae in the seed. It has been estimated th
at the loss in the weight of a seed of cowpea due to a single larva callosobruch
us maculatus can be between 3.39 and5.46%(Brooker 1967).unfortunatly there have
been few good studies of the overall losses caused by Bruchidae in stored pulses
. in Nigeria Caswel(1973) concluded after survey carried out in the local market
that about 5500 tons/year of a one million ton harvest of cowpeas(5.5%) were co
nsumed by bruchidae. Giles(1977) reported loss of 12.4% of beans per year in Nic
argua, amounting to about 5240 tons.
Comprehensive and reliable information concerning the quantity of losses cau
sed by insect can only be obtained from well designed surveys involving the meas
urment of losses using proven method of loss assesment (Harris and Lindblad,1978
). althrouh such invastigations have beencarried out on stored cereals,stored le
gumes have not been studied in depth. Results are also lacking concerning the nu
rtritional losses associated with insect infections.
the reduction of losses due to insect can be difficult in
the tropical and sub tropical regiopn where the rate of insect multiplication is
great. Legumes stored in farms by small scale producers are often stored in the
re pods. The pods form a significant barrier to infesting insects and reduce inf
estation level. Various insecticides are are supplied in the form of dilute dus
ts which are aplied by throughly mixing with the crop to be protected. recently
very good results have been obtained against bruchidae at the Tropical Products
Institute using piriniphos-methyl aplied at the rate of 5 parts per million. Tra
ditionally very fine sand, mineral dust,wood ash and rice husk have been used to
protect legumes against bruchiedae. the dust may damage the insect cuticle by a
brasion or absorption or they may creat a barrier which prevents the insect gain
ing access of seed. none of these techniques has been rigorously tested. It has
been found that variuos edibleoils mixed with pulsesat the rate of 5-10ml per kg
are highly effective in preventing the the development of bruchidae eggs,and in
some cases are toxic toadult beetles (Singh et.al 1978).
Large quantities of legumes can be disinfected by fumigating the produce with
gas under impermeable sheets or in gas tight silos. The most common fumigants a
re- phosphine produced by the breakdown of pellets containing alluminiun phosphi
de and methyle bromide which is supplied under pressure in cylinders.
The pulse beetles belong to one rather small family named Bruchidae
, just as all the pulses belong to one family of plants called Leguminosae.
these pest are commonly reffered to as the Bruchidae, are small beetles
which rarely exceed the half a centimeter in size. The majority of Bruchidae at
tack the leguminous pods in the fields where from they are carried to storage go
downs. At present the family Bruchidae consist of approximatly 130
0 spicies,grouped into 70 genera and placed within 5 subfamilies(B.J.Southgate 1
979) have so far been recorded from diffrent parts of the world. The fa
mily Bruchidae feed on the seeds of diffrent plant families. About 90% of the sp
ieces of Bruchidae attack seeds of Leguminosae (Southgate 1979) Only very few sp
ieces of the Bruchidae are associated with the seeds of family like Malvaceae,Co
nvolvulaceae,Rosaseae,Papaveraceae and Palmae etc. Out of 5 subfam
ilies bruchidae, the largest in the Bruchinae whice is almost completly associat
ed with leguminosea, while other four families attack seeds of non leguminous pl
ants. Legume seeds are among those crops which are classified as 'du
rable' because it is possible to store them for extended periods of time after t
hey have been dried. However during storage they may be attacked by a number of
biological agents which results in the loss in the quality and physical losses i
n the quantity of the stored seeds. These agents includes (1) Micro organisms (
2) Rodents (3) Insects All of the important insect pest of st
ored legume seeds are beetles of the family Bruchidae. The adults of the Bruchi
dae are typically small, convex beetles which are often distinvtly marked. They
are active and fly readily. Bruchidae may be univoltine or multivoltine and infe
st both soft seeds in pods and hardened ripe seeds of legumes and other plant ge
nera (Watanable,1990). Bruchidae show plasticity in thier life his
tories under different enviromental conditions(Imura,19900. In dry conditions su
ch as during the months of summer, large number of Bruchidae adilt emergea while
decreased with the onset of rainy season during winters. At variable relative h
umidities the pre ovi position periods decreased as the temprature increased. As
the temprature increases, the oviposition period decreases and the post oviposi
tion period increased when the temprature decreased. Thus the temprature has a s
ignificant effects in the post oviposition periods. Hatchability reached its utm
ost percentage during autumns and to its minimul percentage during winters. The
shortest period for the larval devlopment is during June-August,while the longes
t period during November-february. Hence increase in the avrage temprature by 1%
, results in the decreases of larval duration. The longevity of the pupal stage
decreased with increase in temprature. Females lives longer than the male thpoug
hout the favourable periods(Metwally,1990).The eggs are laid on the surface of s
eeds,the larvae develops from the eggs which(developing up on the species)are gl
ued by the female parent to the surface of the mature pod or are laid loosely in
side the pod or loosely around the pods or seeds. After hatching,th
e larva immediately penetrates the seed and further development takes place with
in the seed cotyledons.The larva pupates with in the seed,but before doing so p
repares the points of its eventual escape from the seed by chewing away a circul
ar escape tunnel through the cotyledon leaving intact only the testa at the outs
ide.This area of testa can be seen clearly as a grey 'window'.The larvae pupates
with in the seed,and the adult which develops pushes its way through the 'windo
w'. Farmers worldwide experiences significant crop losses from damages to stored
grains by the bruchidae beetles. Sometimes half of the stored grains are damage
d. Farmers, traders and governments all have reasons for storage othe
r than the profitability of the storage enterprise itself. For small farmers the
main purpose un storing grain is to ensure household food suplies. Farm storage
also provides a form saving,to cover future cash need through sale,grain is als
o stored for seed. Bruchids love beans.Beans originated in southern Mex
ico,gruatemala,Honduras, a family plant with worldwide distribution. There are n
early 30 legume species used as vegetable. both mature and immature seeds of the
se food legumes provide an important dietary source of carbohydrates and protien
s in both undeveloped and developed countries. The immature pod contains vitamin
s A andC,while dry seeds contains carbohydrates, protiens and some of the essent
ial minerals. The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is heavily attacke
d by Bruchids, both in the fields and in storage. Infestations are commonly so h
eavy that the seeds are unsuitable for use as food,feed or planting. T
he common bean (P.vulgarise) is an herbaceous annual plant, and grown worldwide
for its edible beans, popular both dry and as a green bean. Botanically, the com
mon bean is classified as a dicotyledon. The raw bean seeds contains a toxic com
pound - the lectin phytohaemagglutinin, there for the raw bean seed should be bo
iled before they are eaten,otherwise they cause severe gastric upset. Sprouts of
pulses should not be eaten. Dry beans can be stored for longer time,i
f stored in a cool,dry place,but as time passes,thier nutritive value and flavo
r degrade and cooking time lengthen. Bruchids are major problem affecting Pha
seolus vulgaris L.seeds in storage. Two species of bruchids are major pests o
f stored beans-The common bean weevil Acanthoscelides obtectus and Mexican bean
weevil Zabrotes subfasciatus(Boh). Acanthoscelides obtectus start
to infest beans in the field and continue to infest in beans storage while-Zabro
tes subfasciatus infest beans only in storage(Howe & Currie,1964).Zabrotes subfa
sciatus is particularly associated with the Phaseolus vulgaris.It is distributed
in:Asia-Lebanon,India,Myanmar,Israel.Africa-Ethiopia,Kenya,Uganda,Tanzania,Nige
ria,Ghana,S.Africa,Madagascar,Malawi,Mauritius.N.America-USA,Mexico.Central Amer
ica-Nicaragua,Jamaica,Guatemala,Panamaand Cuba.S.America-Peru,Argentina,Brazil,E
cuador,Venzuala. Smallish bruchids 1.8-2.8 mm. Elytra are short, relativ
ely broadd and together are square in shape. The Elytra of the female are str
ongly marked with a pattern of white and pale grey setae on a dark (almost black
)background. The male has uniform light grey brown pubescence (sometimes motted
with darker brown) over a dark grey cuticle. Z.subfasciatus is th
e pest of Phaseolous vulgaris. It also attacks Vigna simansis (Rongi) and Glycin
e max (soyabean). In India,Z.subfasciatus is present only in stored form (K
apilla 1986). Maxican bean weavil has great economic importance but very l
ittle work has been carried out on the biology of this pest. The outlines of th
e development and the nature of the damage caused by this species is recorded by
Stsffan in 1946. Some observations are made by Howe and Currie in 1964 on the
rate of development,mortality and oviposition of Bruchidas including Zabrotis s
ubfasciatus associated with stored pulses. Zabrotis subfascia
tus lays eggs on the surface of seesd and immature stages breed within the seed.
Adult Bruchids do not feed. The freshly emerged females and males are sluggish.
Matting can start anytime after emergance. According to Arora
and Singh(1969) and Raina (1971)copulation starts at any time after an hour of i
mergance. where as according to Arora & Pajni(1957) copulation starts immediate
ly after emergence in C.maculatus. In Himachal Pradesh, Rajmash(P.vulg
aris) is being adopted as a cash crop as it gives more price to the farmers as c
ompare to maize during Kharif. This crop is susceptible to the attack of various
insect pest. Z.subfasciatus is one of them. It is a serious pest of P.vulgaris
. The attacked seeds are badly damaged being no longer fit for human consumption
. So,keeping the seriuosness of problem in view,the present
investigation on the biology of Z.subfasciatus has been carried out.It is hoped
that this will help in undertaking suitable control measures against this serio
us pest of stored pulses.