Agricultural entomology: Sesame of cereals

Agricultural entomology: Sesame of cereals

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Classification and host plants

Class: Insects
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: hetoneuri
Family: Nocturnes
Genus: Sesame
Species: S. nonagrioides Lef.

Bibliographic reference:
Phytopathology, agricultural entomology and applied biology” – M.Ferrari, E.Marcon, A.Menta; School edagricole - RCS Libri spa

Host plants: Corn, Sorghum, other Grasses.

Identification and damage

The Sesamia nonagrioides is widespread, together with a similar but less common species: the Sesamia cretica (Led.), In the southern regions and in the Islands, where it can cause serious damage especially to Corn and Sorghum. Ladulto is a butterfly of about 30-35 mm in wingspan; the front wings are yellow-ocher, while the rear ones are white and translucent. The larvae, about 40 mm long, have a dark head and prothorax and a yellowish-pink livery. The damage occurs on the leaf sheaths, on the leaves, on the culms and on the kernels and is determined by the trophic action of the larvae; these (larvae of the generation) attack the sheaths and the leaves by nibbling them, and they dig tunnels in the culms of the still young plants. The tunnels often cause the culms to break due to the wind. The larvae of the next generation mainly attack the ear, destroying the caryopsis. The damages due to the other Sesamia (Sesamia cretica) are similar to those described.

Biological cycle

The Sesamia nonagrioides overwinters as a mature larva inside the stalks and incrisalida in spring. Adults (1st flight) flicker from April until the end of May, depending on the weather. The females lay their eggs inside the leaf sheaths; from these eggs the 1st larval generation originates. The adults of the 2nd flight, which originate from the larvae which have been confirmed in the culms, begin to flicker in the last period of the month of July; from these adults larvae are born (2nd generation) which attack mainly the ears and which are destined to winter. In the warmer regions you can also have a 3rd generation. Sesamia therefore performs 2-3 generations a year.

Sesamia adult of cereals - Sesamia nonagrioides The F. (photo Armin Dahl

Ear of corn with Sesamia larva of cereals - Sesamia nonagrioides The F. (photo


The fight against Sesamia is agronomic and chemical.
The agronomic struggle consists of:
- in the destruction or in the deep burial of the stalks containing the wintering larvae (see Pyralide);
- in the choice of resistant varieties.
The chemical struggle follows the criteria of the guided and integrated struggle; however it is not very effective because the larvae live inside the plant organs and the eggs are sheltered by the leaf sheaths. The interventions are carried out following the flickering with sexual monitoring traps, placed in the field since the end of March.

Video: The Case for Insect Agriculture (August 2022).