In this article you will find the 15 major and minor pests of paddy and their management. Rice is also called as a global staple food. Rice provides 21% of global human per capita energy and 15% of per capita of protein.  And here is a list of pests of paddy or rice.

List of 15 Major and Minor pests of paddy :

  1.  Stem Borers
  2. Rice gall midge or gall fly: Orseolia oryzae 
  3. Rice Jassids (Green Leaf Hoppers): Nephotettix nigropictus Stal. Nephotettix virescens
  4. Brown Plant Hoppers : Nilparvata lugens Stal.
  5. Swarming Caterpillar & Army Worm: Spodoptera mauritia B. Mythimna separata
  6. Paddy Blue Beetle: Leptisa pygmaea 
  7. Rice Hispa : Dicladispa armigera 
  8. Rice Case Worm: Nymphula depunctalis G.
  9. Paddy Grass Hopper : Hieroglyphus banian Fb.
  10. Paddy Leaf Roller or Folder : Cnaphalocrosis medinalis G.
  11. Rice Skipper : Pelopidas mathias Fab.
  12. Rice Earhead Bug or Gundhi Bug : Leptocorisa spp.
  13. Rice Butterfly (Rice Horned Caterpillar): Melanitis ismene C.
  14. Land Crabs: Paratelphus spp.
  15. Snail and Slugs: Snail-Helix spp. Slug-Limax spp.

For their better management, you need to know about the life cycle, nature of damage, alternate host plants, and also mark of identification. The following is the complete information about pests and their management.

Explanation of major pests of paddy:

1. Stem Borers:

a) Yellow Stem Borer : Scirpophaga incertulas Walk.  Pyralidae : Lepidoptera

image of paddy stem borer
Image source

Economic Importance : It is one of the major pests of paddy. It is a specific pest of paddy and has world wide distribution. It is very serious in areas where more than one crop of paddy are taken in a year.

Marks of Identification: Moths: Medium-sized, 10-15 mm in length, forewings yellowish, hindwings whitish, black dot on each of the forewings and tuft of yellowish hairs on anal segments in female moth. Caterpillar – yellowish, 20 mm, yellowish-brown head.

Host Plants : Rice only.

Nature of Damage: Yellow stem bore is the one of the major pest among the other pests of paddy. On hatching from the egg, the larva bores inside the stem of the paddy plant. As a result of feeding, the central shoot is killed causing “dead heart”. The attack in the later stage results in yellowing of leaves and white earheads locally known as “Palinj”.

Life History: Eggs-100-200 eggs are laid on the upper surface of leaves near the tips. Incubation period of 67 days. Larva-larval period 4-5 weeks (6 larval instars), before pupation larva, construct an emergence hole on the stem which is always located above the water level in fields. Pupa : Pupation in stem. Pupal period 8-10 days. Adult – adult longevity 5-7 days. Life cycle-completed in 2 months. 3 to 5 generations in a year.

Carryover : The pest hibernate in larval or pupal stage in the stubble during the winter season.

Seasonal Occurrence : Cold weather with high humidity and low temperature has been found conducive for the multiplication of the pest.

b) Stripped Stem Borer:

image of paddy stem borer
Image source

Chilo partellus S. Pyralidae : Lepidoptera

Stripped stem borer is also categorized under the major pests of paddy

Marks of Identification: Moths are Medium and 10 mm in length, forewings yellowish-grey with small black spots at apical portion, hindwings are dirty white. Caterpillars: Dirty white with brownish markings, 2025 mm in length

Host Plants : Rice, paddy, jowar, maize, sugarcane, some hill millets and wild grasses.

Nature of Damage: Caterpillars initially feed on leaves and later bore inside the stem producing dead hearts or empty earheads depending upon the stage of the crop.

The Life History: Eggs- average eggs laid by a female 200 on leaves, incubation period 6 days. Larva – larval period 15-26 days. Pupa-pupation in stem. Pupal period 3-5 days. Life cycle – completed in 6-7 weeks.

Carryover: Pest hibernate as a larva in stubble in the off season.

Seasonal Occurrence: The pest is active from July to November

Management Practices of Stem Borer Complex ( pests of paddy) :

NOTE: Before going to learn about chemical management it important to go with Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

I) Cultural and Mechanical Measures :

1. Avoid late transplanting of the crop.

2. Grow high yielding mid-late varieties like Ratna, EP-4-14, I.R.20, IET-3116, IET-3127, IET-9691 and IET-3093.

3. Remove affected tillers and destroy them.

4. Clipping of leaf tips at the time of transplanting to destroy the egg masses.

5. Plough the field immediately after harvest and destroy the stubbles.

6 Conservation of frogs to keep down the incidence of stem borer, army worm, crabs, etc.

II) Chemical Control :

1. Nursery Treatment: Application of phorate 10 G @ 10 kg or quinalphos 5 G @ 15 kg or carbofuran 3 G @ 16.5 kg/ha in the soil under saturated moisture conditions. 15 days after sowing. If granular application is not possible due to inadequate soil moisture (sloppy or light type of soil) then spray with fenitrothion 0.08%  or quinalphos 0.08% or phenthoate 0.08% when 1 moth or 1 egg mass/ sq.m. is noticed.

2. Dipping of Seeding Roots: Dip seedling roots for 12 hrs. in the solution prepared by mixing chlorpyriphos 20 EC, 500 ml. in 500 liters of water (0.02% solution). For this treatment the bed should be prepared by spreading  plastic sheets and making ridges on all four sides for preparing the solution.

3. Field Application: When 5% dead hearts appear in the field or average 1 egg mass / sq.m., apply granules in the soil as given under nursery treatment. At the time of application, the field should have a saturated moisture condition or a maximum of 7-10 cm. of water level. Do not let in or drain out water for 4 days after application, Or spray the crop with insecticides given under nursery treatment or spraying of Bt @ 1 kg/ha. when 5% affectedtillers sq.m. or 1 eggs mass/ sq. m. or 1 moth/sq.m. is noticed.

III) Biological Control: Release of laboratory-based parasitoids, Trichogramma japonicum 4-5 times at weekly intervals @ 50,000/- parasitoids /ha on noticing stem borer moth activity.

2. Rice gall midge or gall fly :

gall midgge
Image source

Orseolia oryzae W.M. Cecidomyidae : Diptera

Economic Importance: Rice gall fly is also categorized under the major pests of paddy. This pest is distributed throughout India. It has been found to be endemic in Bhandara, Chandrapur and Ratnagiri districts of Maharashtra State. The loss in yield in heavily infested crop may be to the extent of 50 per cent.

Marks of Identification of pest: Adult fly-small, reddish brown, mosquito like having long slender legs, body length 4-5 mm. Maggot – pinkish, 2.5 – 3.00 mm in length.

Host Plants: Wild rice and grasses like Panicum spp., Cynodon dactylon, Ischaeum cillare, Eleusine indica.

Nature of Damage : The tiny maggot hatching out from the eggs creeps down between the leaf sheaths till it reaches the apical point of the central shoot or tillers as the case may be and then it enters the tissues and destroy the growing point. Due to the feeding normal growth of the plant stops and a small gall is produced. This gall gradually elongates and a long hollow silvery shoot emerges in place of normal stem bearing the earhead. The affected plants induce tillering but by the time, flies may emerge in the successive generation and again attack the tillers and in case of severe infestation large percentage of plants yield no grains at all. The infestation is highest in the tillering stage. The infested tillers do not bears ears.

Life History : Egg – average eggs laid by a female 100 on leaves singly or in clusters. Incubation period 3-5 days. Larva- larval period – 10 days. Pupa – pupation in galls or within the silver shoot. Pupal period 3-5 days.

Life cycle: It is completed in 2-3 weeks and 5-8 generations in a year.

Carry Over: The pest probably overwinters in the larval stage in stubbles.

Seasonal Occurrence: Cloudy skies and drizzling rains are conducive to a fast build-up of pests. The favorable conditions for fly development is 26 to 30°C temperature and 82 – 86 % humidity. Heavy rains and low humidity cause high mortality.

Management Practices: A) Cultural and Mechanical Measures :

1. Destroy all wild grasses and alternate hosts in and around the rice fields to prevent the infestation of this pest. 2. Grow resistant varieties viz., IET 7918, IET 6080, IET 7008, Pratap, Kunti, Suraksha, Vikram and Phalguna.

3. Removal of affected tillers showing silver shoots and their destruction will keep the pest under check.

B) Chemical Control: 1. Nursery Treatment: Give nursery treatment as stated under rice stem borer, when 1 silver shoot/sq.m. is noticed. 2. Field Application: When 1 silver shoot or gall/sq.m. in an endemic area or 5% silver shoots/sq.m. in a non-endemic area, apply phorate 10G @ 10 kg or quinalphos 5G @ 15 kg in soil control the pest effectively. Note: Granules should be applied carefully and should not be handled by persons having wounds on feet or hands.

3. Rice Jassids (Green Leaf Hoppers) :

image of green leaf hopper
Image source

Nephotettix nigropictus Stal. Nephotettix virescens Dist. Cicadellidae : Hemiptera.

Economic Importance: In the recent years, this pest appears in endemic forms in some parts of Maharashtra. In addition to direct feeding damage, they are vectors of rike virus diseases and have almost the same overall economic significance as stem borers.

Marks of Identification: Adult greenish, wedge-shaped, 4-5 mm in length, black spot on each forewing, Nymphs smaller, wingless and greenish.

Host Plants: Rice, wheat, barley and lemon grass.

Nature of Damage : Both nymphs and adults suck the cell sap from the leaves. As a result the leaves turn yellowish and start drying from tip to downwards. Some species are known to be the vectors of virus diseases. The green leaf hoppers. N. nigropictus are reported to transmit ‘rice transitory yellowing’ and ‘rice yellow dwarf’. Tungro virus disease transmitted by N. virescens is the most serious.

Life History: Eggs – about 25 per female within leaf tissues. Incubation period – 4-5 days. Nymph – nymphal period 10-15 days. Adult longevity 17-22 days in summer and 30-50 days in winter.

Life cycle: Completed in about 5 weeks. Generations: Six overlapping generations in a season and several in a year.

Carry Over: Over wintering in the adult stage, through alternate host plants.

Seasonal Occurrence: Pest is active during July-Sept. The abundance of the pest has been attributed to high temperature, low rainfall, and abundant sunshine. Generally fields receiving large amounts of nitrogenous fertilizers are mostly infested. The pest population decreases after heavy rain. Incidence is more in ill drained fields.

Management Practices : Spray with dimethoate 0.05% or fenitrothion 0.05% or monocrotophos 0.05% or malathion 0.1% or phenthoate 0.05% or dusting carbaryl 10 D @ 20 kg/ha when 1-2 jassids / sq. m. in nursery and 5-10 or more jassids/hill in the field. Note: Dusting should be undertaken in the evening or early in the morning when there is no wind.

4. Brown Plant Hoppers (pest of paddy):

brown plant hopper
Image source

Nilparvata lugens Stal. Delphacidae : Hemiptera

Economic Importance: Most destructive pest. It has become serious on high yielding varieties of paddy in many states.

Marks of Identification: Nymphs and adults are brown to brownish black, adults 4.5 mm in length. Two types of adults are noticed – 1. Brachypterous – wings are not fully developed. 2. Macropterous – Wings development is complete.

Host Plants: paddy, sugarcane and some grasses.

Nature of Damage: Both nymphs and adults suck the cell sap from stem and leaves. As a result, the leaves become yellow, dry up and the whole plant dies after a few days. They are normally confined to the basal portion of a rice plant. When the population is large, the crop dries up in patches and this stage is called ‘hopper burn’. They also transmit grassy stunt virus disease of paddy. Very high infestation causes lodging of the crop.

Life History: Eggs about 300 – 350 per female in leaf tissues on either side of the midrib and the leaf sheath. Incubation period – 6-12 days. Nymph-nymphal period of 15 days, 4 to 5 moults. Adult- lives for 10-20 days in summer and 30-50 days in autumn. Life Cycle: Several generations in a year.

Carry Over: It overwinters either as eggs or fifth in star nymphs through alternate host plants.

Seasonal Occurance : High nitrogen application, high humidity, optimum temperatures increases the population rapidly.

Management Practices: 1. Grow BPH resistant/tolerant varieties viz.,IET-7575, IET-7568, IET-7943 and IET-8115. 2. Spray the crop with insecticides given under the leaf hopper when 5-10 hoppers/hill are noticed. Note: Insecticide should reach lower portion of the plant.

The following Above is the major and minor pest of paddy comment below for more

FAQ in pests of paddy

What are the pests of rice?

1. Stem Borers
2. Rice gall midge or gall fly
3. Rice Jassids (Green Leaf Hoppers)
4. Brown Plant Hoppers
5. Swarming Caterpillar & Army Worm
6. Paddy Blue Beetle
7. Rice Hispa
8. Rice Case Worm
9. Paddy Grass Hopper
10. Paddy Leaf Roller or Folder
11. Rice Skipper
12. Rice Earhead Bug or Gundhi Bug
13. Rice Butterfly (Rice Horned Caterpillar)
14. Land Crabs
15. Snail and Slugs

Which one is major pest of paddy?

Paddy stem borers, Rice gall fly, Rice Jassids, and Brown plant hopper are major pest of paddy.

How do pests affects rice production?

Insects and pests cause the damage to the plant in all the stages of plant growth. they can damage plant in all the stages from seedling to harvesting and even in stored condition.

What is paddy pest?

Paddy pest are those living organisms which damage the paddy crop in all stages of plant growth from seedling to harvesting.

How do you control the stem borer in rice?

I) Cultural and Mechanical Measures :
1. Avoid late transplanting of the crop.
2. Grow high yielding mid-late varieties like Ratna, EP-4-14, I.R.20, IET-3116, IET-3127, IET-9691 and IET-3093.
3. Remove affected tillers and destroy them.
4. Clipping of leaf tips at the time of transplanting to destroy the egg masses.
5. Plough the field immediately after harvest and destroy the stubbles.
6 Conservation of frogs to keep down the incidence of stem borer, army worm, crabs, etc.
II) Chemical Control :
1. Nursery Treatment
2. Dipping of Seeding Roots
3. Field Application.
III) Biological Control