Humidity in air, precipitation, almost hot days, moderate nights and frequent rainfall call many pests to invade urban areas. Swarmer’s, mosquitoes, flies, moths, centipedes and hoppers are some most alarming pests now a days in Lahore, Pakistan. Brown planthoppers are being on top irritating pests and have set the records to raid every type of living style from home to streetlamps, parks, restaurants, malls, shops and other public buildings turning them into complete dark as they are not behind human beings like all other pests instead they face urban areas forcefully in the lust of artificial light. They usually do not bite but their presence create nuisance, irritation and pose a big threat to food safety and hygiene in food preparation, processing and storage areas and turning them into complete darkness.
Brown planthoppers are brown in color, wings are transparent with very conspicuous veins. Young nymphs are white in color but on later instars they turn into brown color. They remain active throughout the year.
They are basically agricultural pest of rice resulting almost 60% yield losses through sucking the cell sap annually and also responsible for transmitting viruses to rice crop.
Smartness of their survival:
Brown plant hoppers usually exhibits dimorphism i.e. long winged and short winged adults termed as macropterous and brachypterous respectively. Macropterous adult formation (that type which we face in urban environment around lights) is a way to stop, migrate or reduce their population as they are not able to reproduce and survive as long and as much as brachypterous. That’s why we find many of them dead around light floor in the morning.
Mystery behind exposure of hoppers in urban environment:
We see our lightbulbs covered with brown plant hoppers are basically migrants from rice fields. This migration could be of two reasons:
- Over population of hoppers in rice field.
- When rice is on its harvesting stage, they feel low precipitation content and food and water scarcity there and start to migrate towards relatively higher conditions as now a day in urban areas of Lahore.
- First and foremost, it is responsibility of agriculture sector to manage their population under tolerable number through use of efficient resistant rice cultivars, timely monitor their population and pesticide resistant and apply controls accordingly. So that, they could less interfere human being lives.
- Exterior light management could be effective in urban environment to minimize their activity. Use of sodium halogen bulbs and yellow light instead of white is very effective as they do not respond towards yellow light.
- Use of sticky tapes around light also provide control.
- Proper weed and plant management around buildings is also be useful because they might be providing them habitat as enriched with moisture.
- Installation of air curtains, laser gates and strip curtains on all loading, entrance doors and in partitions of compartment would also hinder their entrance into our premises.
- Installation and keeping active of EFK and ILT’s on recommended places would attract and trap them and giving some control.
- Pesticide application won’t be effective and recommended as space treatment could not be implemented due to pesticide hazards towards urban environment as it would be agriculture and they will surely come back again whenever you turned on light yet prevention can control them somehow.