The lab has collaborated with Dr. Nasser and Rajesh of the University of Calicut on their research on organic rice cultivation aka Kaipad in North Malabar region recently.
White stem borer is a sporadic major pest of rice in this region, and for the rice growing in the organic and conventional fields of Kasaragod and Kannur regions of Kerala. To our greater surprise, this pest in terms of their adult abundance and egg clutch abundance were higher on Chinese Water Chestnut – a weed growing in the fringes of the rice fields – than on the rice! Dr. Nasser and Rajesh argue that this is a good dead-end trap crop, because, the eggs that hatch on the chestnut hardly survive. Sinu based on his experience in tea systems thinks that this moth can’t be that stupid and not rules out the possibility that the hatchlings spread to rice immediately after hatching. Chestnut might be a good oviposition site! You can see the findings of this study in our joint publication in Biological Control