Indian traditional pest management practices to overcome health hazards of chemical pesticides
Pranay Abhang, Girish Pathade
Department of Environmental Science, Haribhai V. Desai College, Pune 411002.
Various states of India utilize different traditional pest management techniques which are in harmony with nature. Practice of such traditional pest management techniques can minimizes health hazards of chemical or synthetically prepared pesticides in food commodities in India. The paper re-sorts the opportunity and utility of traditional pest management for the current problems arising due to hazards and ill-effects of chemical or synthetic pesticides. The main objective of this paper is to collect information of traditional pest management practices utilizing in various states of India to overcome health hazards of chemical pesticides in food commodities and to aware scientific community for focusing on this area.
Key words: Traditional pest management, Health hazards of pesticides, Chemical pesticides, Food commodities.
A pest is an organism whose population often increases above a certain level of economic injury and its existence conflict with welfare, convenience and profit of man. Pest control refers to the regulation or management of a species defined as a pest, usually because it is perceived to be harmful to a person’s health, the ecology or the economy. The pest may be classified as crop pest, house hold pest and stored grain pest. It is observed that the use of chemical pesticides is hazardous to human health, so now a day humans are diverted to follow traditional techniques of pest control. The modern agricultural techniques are beneficial on one hand while on other hand they have serious, long term side effects such as soil erosion, disturbances in mineral uptake by plants, reduced soil fertility and also affect on human health. Traditional methods of pest control are better than modern techniques which include utilization of locally available natural things.
In this globalization and scientific age we are trying to solve every phenomenon base on scientific knowledge and research, but this idea is opposed by the elder people who have strong believed in traditional knowledge which are inherit and passed from generation to generation. Varahamihira, Brihathsamhita (5 A.D.) Vrikshayurveda of Loko pakakra (5 A.D.) and Sarangadhara Samhita (13 A.D.) provides detailed information on pest’s management methods or practices. Traditional pests management practices used in various states of India are listed in this paper.
In Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, pests of paddy crop and coconut plantation are managed through traditional pest control methods. (Kiruba et al., 2006). Pests’ commonly found in paddy fields viz. Cnaphalocrocis medinalis, Leptispa pygmaea, Leptocorsia acuta, Melanitis leda ismene, Nilaparvata lugens, Oxya nitidula, Psalis pennatula, Scirpophaga incertulas, Spodoptera Mauritia, Tetroda histeroides, Rattus rattus, Bubulcus ibis and insect pests commonly found in coconut plantation viz. Oryctes rhinoceros, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus and Opisina arenosella can be managed by Indian traditional pests management system. Control of these pests can be done by using lime, fly ash and some plant extract of Azadiracta indica A. Juss., Aloe barbadensis Mill., Coleus amboinicus Lour. and Pongamia pinnata Pierre as pest constraining materials. Apart from this various types of traps used against insect pests such as fire trap, meat trap, plant trap and pot trap are effective in controlling paddy field and coconut plantation pests.
Firke et al. provides information on detailed practices utilized for pest control by traditional management in various states in north east part of India. Various traditional pest management practices to control pests like Rice stem borer, Rice leaf folder, Rice thrips, Rice Case worm, Rice hispa, Gundhi bug, Rice Aphids, Brown plant hopper, Maize stem borer (Chillo zonellis), Wheat and maize Termite, Pigeon pea Root knot nematode, Citrus trunk borer, Rhinoceros beetle Coconut, etc.
The traditional methods of pest control are regularly practices in the West Khasi Hills and West Garo Hills districts of Meghalaya. (Sinha et al., 2004). Mixture of Cowdung, Cowurine, Chili & Garlic or mixture of Garlic & Ginger acts as a repellent to insect pests and germs of diseases. The pungent smell of twigs & leaves of ‘Diengkseh’ (Pinus kesiya Royle ex Dum) is used to control insect pests which gets dissolved in the water and repels insect pests from the paddy field. The local crab is provided as an alternative source of food to the insects which act as a pest attractant in paddy and vegetable fields. The excreta of silkworms are used as insecticidal for some insects while repelling others. Raw blood of cow, after 2-3 days starts to emit a smelly gaseous substance, which acts as a repellent to the birds. Extracts of various plants viz. Jambura (Citrus grandis), Changsim (Sapium baccatum Roxb.), Tuthekme (Dendropthoe falcata L. Elting.), Rakseng (Morus macroura Mig.), Khasi-bol’ (Bridelia retusa Spreng.), Bhang’ (Cannabis sativa L.), Chilly’ (Capsicum sp.), Neem’ (Azadirachta sp.), Gilmat’ (Dendrocnide sinuata (Bl.) Chew.), Sui’ (Entada purseatha DC), etc. are commonly spread on crops or in the field to get rid from various pests.
Farmers from the Indian Central Himalaya have developed indigenous practices for the control of pests and diseases, which are intended to protect both crop plants and stored seeds and grains. (Samal et al., 2007). Fuelwood ash, red soil (geru) or lime is applied in soil around roots of fruit trees or vegetable plants for the control of root rot, root borers or insects. Stem borers in fruit trees can be controlled by using kerosene oil swabs or by burning the chaff of paddy and cow dung to produce smoke near the plants which acts as an effective insecticide. A mixture of cow dung or wood ash and cattle urine on vegetable crops is used to kill hoppers. Table salt, cow dung ash, Madua (Eleusine coracana) ash, Leaves of walnut tree (Juglans regia), dal (Toona serrata) or its dried bark are used for the long term storage of food grains. A chhaza or patti is used for grain drying and storage purposes.
The paper stresses the fact that an integrated pest management system is not a new concept leading to a more stable agroecosystem, but was practiced by the farmers for centuries; host-plant resistance is one of its major components. The system was destabilized by the introduction of new sorghum varieties and hybrids not resistant against the major sorghum insect pests like shoot-fly Atherigona soccata (Rondani); stem borer, Chilo partellus (Swinhoe); midge, Contarinia sorghicola (Coquillet); and headbugs, Calocoris angustatus (Lethiery). In order to balance the agroecosystem again, an integrated insect pest management system for sorghum has to be developed based on traditional pest management practices. These are host-plant resistance, cultural control and biological control. For a better understanding of such a control approach, a summary of the biology and population dynamics of the major insects is given, together with a brief account on the levels and mechanisms of host-plant resistance so far known. Based on this information, the rainfall pattern, plant duration to maturity, time of planting, natural enemies and insecticides, a sorghum based integrated pest management system is proposed for the monsoon and post-monsoon season in which host-plant resistance alone or in combination with the above mentioned control methods could be used. (Leuschner et al., 1985)
In Uttarakhand hills, farmers are still managing pests with indigenous methods. (Chandola et al., 2011). White grub (mainly Anomala dimidiate) can be controlled by setting fire in the field, spreading of decomposed Farm Yard Manure, transplanting of paddy crop, use of table salt and burning of cow-dung cakes. Rodent pests can be managed by baiting techniques, spreading urea balls, spreading powdered faeces of horse and physical plant injury practices; i.e. Sisun or Bichhu (Urtica dioica) grass and thorny bushes of Kilmora (Berberis asiatica Roxb.) are placed at the mouth of mouse hole. A mixture of immature turmeric, dried leaves of walnut or ash and mustard oil is applied for long term storage of green gram and black gram. Paddy seeds are stored by using dried leaves of walnut (Juglans regia Linn.), timur (Z. alatum Roxb.), Nafatia (Ipomoea fistulosa), etc. to get rid of insect pests.
Various practices such as cultural, physical and mechanical and use of botanicals are used as traditional pest control techniques (Patnaik). Cultural practices viz. field sanitation; selection of seed variety; proper seedbed preparation; planting date; row spacing; rate of seeding; fertilization; water management; crop rotation; planting of trap crops and hedge rows; companion planting; and intercropping which will enhance the belowground biodiversity which concurrently contribute to aboveground biodiversity and make the habitat more diverse for sustenance of natural enemies. Physical or mechanical control includes proper land preparation; hoeing; weeding, bagging of fruits; baits and traps; row covers; mulching; handpicking; and pruning, etc. e.g. Trapping rhinoceros beetles in coconut by using powdered castor cake, Trapping red palm weevil in coconut by using the mid rib of coconut, jiggery, tobacco powder, sugarcane molasses and toddy. Fruit fly (Dacus dorsalis and D. cucurbitae) can be controlled by using extract of Ocimum sanctum or by placing honey traps. Mechanical control practices such as attracting birds, bait for Ant, dead crabs or frogs or pieces of jackfruit can be used against Gundhi bugs in rice, Rats can be controlled by using pieces of the bark from the Gliricidia tree or fruits of Mucuna pruriencs or pieces of stem of Jatropha plant. Botanicals are readily available than commercial products as they grow in the local environment. Reviving and modernizing age-old farmer practice through the optimization of ethnobotanicals has shown that farmers are more comfortable using plant materials than commercial synthetics and those botanicals can offer a similar level of control when certain guidelines are followed to their use. Aloe (Aloe barbadensis) control armyworm, hairy caterpillar, rice leaf folder, rice stem borer, semi-looper, bacterial and fungal diseases. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is used for spider mite control. Marigold and chilli extract controls most agricultural pests. Turmeric (Curcuma domestica) controls aphids, caterpillars, red spider mites and powdery mildew. Indian privet tree (Vitex negundo) controls DBM, hairy caterpillars, rice leaf folder, rice stem borer and semilooper. Neem leaf extracts controls aphids, grasshoppers, leaf hoppers, plant hoppers scales thrips weevils and beetles. Calotropis gigantean leaves are used to control termites. (Bissdorf, 2008).
Farmers of Golaghat, Jorhat and Sivasagar districts of Assam utilizes traditional pest management practices for Rice (Oryza sativa), Citrus (Citrus sp.) and Coconut (Cocos nucifera Linn.) crop protection and storage against pests. (Deka et al., 2006). Rice pests such as thrips (Thrips oryzae), rice stem borer (Scirpophaga incertulus), swarming caterpillars, and rice case worm (Nymphula depunctalis), rice leaf folder (Cnaphalocrocis medinalis), rice hispa (Dicladispa armigera), rice moth (Sitotroga cerealella), rice weevil (Sitophilus oryzae), rice Gundhi bug (Leptocorisa acuta) and rodents can be controlled by using cow dung, erecting bamboo or ferns, burring puthi or barb fish or by spreading vermilion water. Various plant extracts or powders can be used such as, citrus or Sakala tenga (Citrus sinensis Osbeck), pumalo (Citrus grandis Osbeck), Indian rhododendron or phutuka (Melastoma malabathricum Linn.), ber (Ziziphus jujube Mill.), curry leaves (Murraya koenigii Spreng.) or neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.), etc. to manage rice pests. Citrus pests like fruit fly Bactocera cucurbitae, citrus trunk borer (Anoplophora verstegii) and citrus insect pests can be controlled by smoking methods, applying fish water or placing red tree ant in the field. Pests like rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) and squirrel in coconut field can be control by placing human hairs and dead fish or frog near tress.
Age-old technologies followed by soybean growers in the Dewas and Jhabua districts of Madhya Pradesh, (Vinaygam et al., 2006). Soil management can be done by Application of bone powder (bone meal) or dry leaves to improve soil fertility, mixing of urea and neem powder to increase the efficiency of urea and to kill insects, trash mulching or use of bukkar to conserve moisture, burning of soybean straw, etc. Seeds can be treated with ash, neem for controlling pests’ attacks. Kerosene oil is used to control stem bore, Tobacco leaf extract in boiled water is sprayed as pesticide, fermented buttermilk can be used against leaf eating caterpillars. Rodents can be controlled by release of 3-4 Sindor coated rats or spreading Ipomoea leaves extract.
The indigenous practices used by soybean farmers of Chindwara district, Madhya Pradesh, for pest management in soybean, maize, cotton, cauliflower and ladyfinger crops. (Singh et al., 2014). Dry mahua flowers can be used against insect baniya (gaygwalan kida) and Scolopendra sp. Green leaves of besharam (Ipomoea carnea Jacq.) can be used against insect armyworm (Pseudaletia unipuncta) and bollworms (Pectinophora gossypiella and Helicoverpa species). Asfoetida (Ferula assafoetida L.) can be used against insect infestations in the chickpea crop. Applying Ayurvedic dinkamali (Gardenia gummifera L.f.) control the heliothis infestations in soybean, and other insect pests in vegetable crops like cauliflower, tomato and cabbage. Extracts of larvae of the infesting insect can be used against major insect pests such as girdle beetle (Blapstinus spp.) and Heliothis in soybean and chickpea. Inter-planting ladyfinger with cotton can control growth of boll worm complex or inter-planting Marigold with maize can control various nematodes.
Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) used for tea pest management prevalent among the small tea growers of different districts of Assam viz. Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Nagoan, Sonitpur and Lakhimpur. (Kumar et al., 2017). The tea growers were using those traditional practices to control pests like red spider mite (Oligonychus coffeae), tea mosquito bug (Helopeltis theivora) and looper caterpillar (Buzura suppresseria). The ingredients used were available locally in abundance made from either plant or animal product such as Cow dung, cow urine, fishes, extract or powders of plants viz. Polygonum hydropiper (Pothorua bihlongoni), Azadirachta indica (Neem), Pongamia pinnata (Karanj), Melia azedarach (Ghora neem), Clerodendrum viscosum (Dhopat teeta), Capsicum annum (Chilli), Allium sativum (Garlic), Nicotinna tabacum (Tabacco) Musa acuminate (Banana pseudostem), etc.
Traditional pest’s management practices are done in Mahadevwadi, Yavalewadi, Jakhale and Nigave Village of Kolhapur. (Deshmukh et al., 2015). Cow urine is spread to control white flies, snails and slugs in rice and cabbage fields. Cow dung smoke is used to keep away mosquitoes and flies. Field burning is used to kill any insects or eggs of insects in sugar-cane field. Trapping is an effective method to control some insects and rodents like rat and mice. Bird scarer or scarecrow is commonly used in fruit orchards. Ploughing in combination with birds and sunlight is the oldest method used against pest such as worms, arthropods, nematodes and other insect pests. Salty water acts as good insecticide, wormicide and weedicide. Various plants shows different pest control activites such as, Azadirachata indica has nematicides antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, Vitex negundo has larviciddal property, Ricinus communis is insect repellent, Gliricidia sepium acts as rat poison and has fungicidal, antimicrobial properties, Euphorbia milli latex is insecticidal and molluscicidal agent and also mosquito repellant, Euphorbia tirucalli latex is having larvicidal activity and acts as fly and termite repellent.
North east part of India uses traditional pest control practices. (Chhetry et al., 2009). Pest and disease management mechanisms is reflected in their cultural practices such as mixed /multiple cropping , zero tillage, clean cultivation, slash and burning , green manuring, sequential cropping and harvesting, fallowing, flooding, etc., fixing atmospheric nitrogen using microbes, Provide healthy shades, Ramification of roots, bamboo drip method of irrigation of terrace rice, Plough field repeatedly soon after harvest for exposing soil inhabiting insect pests, arthropods, nematode, etc. , Shortening of jhum cycle led to the terracing of land for paddy cultivation, Keeping tree boles / trunk, Growing of intercrops, Growing job’s tear, Burning of slashed debris, Mulching through the removal of unwanted weeds, etc.
The people of Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu store the grains by using traditional biological and physicochemical methods. (Kiruba, 2008). The farmers have been used plant products for biological control of stored grain pests. The leaves of Azadirachta indica and Pongamia glabra are used for controlling pests in rice e.g. Sitophilus oryzae, Tribolium castaneum, Corcyra cephalonica and Sitotroga sp. Leaves of A. indica, P. glabra and Vitex negundo have been used to manage the pest in maize e.g. S. oryzae, T. castaneum and, C. cephalonica. The leaves of plants viz. Annona squamosa L., Azadirachta indica A. Juss., Cymbopogon citratus Stapf., Cympopogn nardus Rendl., Erythrina indica L., Erythrina variegata L., Eucalyptus globulus Labill., Pongamia glabra Vent, Psidium guajava L., Tephrosia purpurea Pers., Vitex negundo L. are used against many pest. Physicochemical methods such as the sun drying (Solarization) before storing the grains and application of fly ashes and diatomaceous soil against pests like C. maculatus and C. subinnotatus, C. chinensis and grubs are effective. Also red soil layer (Diatomitzed dust) served as a protectant, cow dung ash as an insecticide against T. castaneum, S. granarius and Cryptolestes ferrugineus larvae.
From a vast collection of pest control techniques used for generations by the rural farmers, packages of ‘Traditional Pest Management’ (TPM) are introduced for crops like rice, brinjal, bhendi, and tomato. (Narayanasamy, 2002). Traditional pest management of rice pests such as stem borer and caterpillars includes use of leaf extracts of asafetida, Tobacco leaf, Rice bran with kerosene, Vitex negundo leaf, lime, Earhead cycas cone pieces, Cow dung extract, Brick kiln, Ipomoea leaf, etc. Traditional pest management of brinjal utilizes extract of leaves of Agave, Neem, Nux vomica, Adhatoda vasica, Aegle marmelos, Asafoetida, etc. seed extract of kernel, Pongamia, etc. Traditional pest management of bhendi and tomato includes extract of garlic, green chili, onion, etc.
Due to the prevalence of traditional system of farming, there are many chances of finding indigenous pest management practices. Indigenous pest management practices are using before the arrival of chemical pest management. These were location and pest specific and also economically affordable. With those practices, farmers would manage pests effectively without deteriorating environment. Due to this traditional practices health hazards of chemical or synthetic pesticides in food commodities can be avoided or minimizes. These practices could be very important if incorporated into integrated pest management research to enrich the research process and make it more relevant for the farmers. For this to happen, their documentation and scientific testing is necessary. The study gathers available information of traditional pest’s management practices in various states of India. Various pests and their traditional control methods are collected during this review, further scientific rationale should studied with their optimization and arability for common people in India.
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