Disease and Pest Management

Climate change and rapid rise in the population of plant pests has led to increased usage of insecticides over the last several decades. This has, in turn, led to the evolution of insecticide resistance in pests, making pest management an ever-increasing challenge. At present, the chemical control method is the most widely accepted pest management method across the globe owing to its ease of application, cost effectiveness, availability, and widespread adaptation. However, due to high toxicity, insecticide resistance, increasing government regulations and awareness among consumers, we may soon see considerable decline in usage of chemical-based insecticides/ pesticides. At TIGS, we aim to develop new Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs with a focus on insects affecting Indian agriculture.

Sampath Kumar


Coffee Stem Borer is a notorious pest that causes severe economic losses. One of the major limitations in developing methods to kill this pest is its cryptic life cycle. The immature stages of the borer live deep inside the stem and targeting the pest with chemical insecticides is not possible. Many other methods – physical and biological – developed till now have not been very effective in managing the pest.

In association with Central Coffee Research Institute (CCRI) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), we are trying to develop a novel method of using Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) to arc the borer within the plant and kill them. Additionally, we are working on developing targeted microwave resonating frequencies for selectively killing the borer pest but not the coffee plant. We have set out the following specific objectives:

» Exploring the feasibility of using EMR frequencies in managing stem borer infestations

» Evaluating the impact of the novel physical control measures on the growth and development of the plant.

Investigator: Sampath Kumar

Central Coffee Research Institute (CCRI), Chickmagaluru
Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru

The Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) is a Lepidopteran insect belonging to the family Noctuidae. Although the fall armyworm (FAW) can feed on various kinds of food, with a host range of more than 80 plant species, its main preferences are grass plants. In particular, crops of economic importance such as maize, millet, sorghum, rice, wheat, and sugarcane are the preferred food sources of this pest.

FAW is an invasive pest and between 2018-2022, it has spread throughout the nation causing not only severe economic losses but also raising food security concerns. Thus, it is essential to develop an effective and flexible approach to manage it. Application of various insecticides should be based on scientific evidence. We aim to develop environmentally safer synthetic as well as biopesticides. We would also be evaluating the resistance among this pest. The base-line insecticide susceptibility data is available with UAS, Bangalore; tracking the pest in real time and evaluating the susceptibility data would provide insights into the possibility of resistance to insecticides that might be developing within the pest. We have defined three key objectives:

» Address the gap in knowledge regarding resistance status of FAW

» Develop novel combinations of bio-pesticides

» Support the farmers in mitigating the threat posed by FAW.

Investigator: Sampath Kumar

University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), GKVK, Bengaluru