Spotting the Eggplant Stem Borer

I was planting eggplants before but I stopped planting because of the many pests it has here in Palawan. The Stem Borer (Euzophera perticella) was one of my many problems with planting eggplant here in Palawan.

If you’re not an experienced farmer looking at the eggplant garden would only look like they are all okay.

Eggplants
Eggplants

But on closer inspection you would see that some of the stems of the eggplant are wilting.

Eggplant Stem Borer
Wilted Eggplant Stem Sprouts

When you see wilted stems and leaves in an eggplant, most likely you have a Stem Borer problem.

What stem borers do is they lay eggs on where the branches split. When the eggs hatch the larvae would bore down in to branch and this would cause the upper part of the branch to reduce the flow of nutrients and would cause the stem to wilt.

 

Eggplant Stem Borer
Entry holes of Stem Borer

The stem borers would leave excrement on their way down the stem.

What we did was to try and break off the damaged stem to show the hole of the Stem Borer.

Eggplant Stem Borer
Stem Borer Tunnel

 

Eggplant Stem Borer
Stem Borer tunnel
Eggplant Stem Borer
Stem Borer Tunnel

Then we removed the stem borer for some photo-ops.

Eggplant Stem Borer
The Stem Borer

 

Unfortunately, when the stem borer gets into the plant what you need to do is to break off the damage part, including the stem borer, and destroy them both. Better if you burn them. If you have a large eggplant garden this would take a lot of your time.

I’ve asked some of the farmers here if there’s an easy way to kill the stem borer once they enter in the stem like spraying them with pesticides, they answered that unfortunately, once the stem borer is inside the stem, it is protected by the stem itself from the spray of pesticides. Therefore prevention is better than cure.

So it’s either we give our eggplants a regular does of spraying of pesticides (once in 3 days) or we put them inside greenhouses. Due to the lack of resources of farmers to build a greenhouses here, the former is what they do.

But I’m still trying to find out what other ways we could prevent such a catastrophic pest to enter the eggplant garden. Maybe I’ll spray it regularly with a mix of crush sili labuyo and other concoction to prevent the stem borer from getting near my eggplant. And maybe research more on the natural enemy of this pest and increase them in number here in the farm.

Whatever happens I’ll keep on experimenting.

 

 

 

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