Wheat being staple food of Pakistan is constantly attacked by major wheat aphid species, Schizaphis graminum (R.), Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) and Sitobion avenae (F.). Due to concern on synthetic chemical use in wheat, it is imperative to search for alternative environment- and human- friendly control measures such as botanical pesticides. In the present study, we evaluated the comparative role of neem seed extract (NSE), moringa leaf extract (MLE) and imidacloprid (I) in the management of the aphid as well as the yield losses parameters in late planted wheat fields. Imidacloprid reduced significantly aphids infestation compared to the other treatments, hence resulting in higher yield, particularly when applied with MLE. The percentages of yield increase in I+MLE treated plots over the control were 19.15-81.89% for grains per spike, 5.33-37.62% for thousand grain weight and 27.59-61.12% for yield kg/ha. NSE was the second most effective control measure in suppressing aphid population, but the yield protected by NSE treatment over the control was comparable to that by imidacloprid. Population densities of coccinellids and syrphids in the plots treated with NSE-2 were higher than those treated with imidacloprid in two out of three experiments during 2013-14. Low predator density in imidacloprid-treated plots was attributed to the lower availability of prey aphids. The efficacy of NSE against aphids varied depending on degree of synchronization among the application timing, the activity of aphids, crop variety and environmental conditions. Despite that, we suggested NSE to be a promising alternative botanical insecticide compared to the most commonly recommended imidiacloprid. Further studies should consider the side effects of biopesticides on non-target organisms in order to provide better management practices in the field.
Shah, F. M., Razaq, M., Ali, A., Han, P., & Chen, J. (2017). Comparative role of neem seed extract, moringa leaf extract and imidacloprid in the management of wheat aphids in relation to yield losses in Pakistan. PLoS ONE, 12(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184639