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Inflorescence Midge (Erosomyia indica)

 Image of Inflorescence Midge (Erosomyia indica )

The mango inflorescence midge (Erosomyia indica) is a  major pest of mango. The adult midge are harmless minute flies which are short lived and die within 24 hours of emergence after copulation and oviposition. The flies lay eggs singly on floral parts like tender inflorescence axis, newly set fruit or tender leaves encircling the inflorescence. The eggs hatch within 2-3 days. Upon hatching, the minute maggots penetrate the tender parts on which the eggs have been laid and feed on them. The floral parts finally dry up and are shed. The larval period varies from 7-10 days. The mature larvae drop down into the soil for pupation. The pupal period varies from 5-7 days. There are 3-4 overlapping generations of the pest spread over the period from January-March. Thereafter, as the weather conditions turn unfavourable, the mature larvae undergo diapause in the soil instead of pupating. They break diapause on the arrival of favourable conditions in following January.

The midge infests and damages the crop in three different stages. The first attack is at the floral bud burst stage. The eggs are laid on newly emerging inflorescence, the larvae tunnel the axis and thus destroy the inflorescence completely. The mature larvae make small exit holes in the axis of the inflorescence and slip down into the soil for pupation. The second attack of the midge takes place at fruit set. The eggs are laid on the newly set fruits and the young maggots bore into these tender fruits, which slowly turn yellow and finally drop. The third attack is on tender new leaves encircling the inflorescence. The most damaging one is the first attack in which the entire inflorescence is destroyed even before flowering and fruiting. The inflorescence shows stunted growth and its axis bends at the entrance point of the larvae. It finally dries up before flowering and fruit setting.

Control:

As the larvae pupate in the soil, ploughing of the orchards expose pupating as well as diapausing larvae to sun’s heat which kills them.
Soil application of Methyl Parathion also kills pupating as well as diapausing larvae in the soil. The insecticide in the soil should be applied after monitoring larval population on white sheet below the tree.