Blister beetles (Coryna spp. and Mylabris spp.)
Adults feed on the flowers and reduce the number of pods that are set. In location where pigeon pea is grown over large areas blister beetles cause little damage. However, in small pigeon pea plots that are in the flowering stage during the period of peak adult activity, most of the flowers may be eaten by the beetles and crop losses maybe substantial. The adults are medium to large sized beetles (2 to 5 cm in length), usually black and yellow or black and red in colour. The immature stages (larvae) do not feed on plants. They live in the soil and eat grasshopper eggs, and are therefore beneficial.
- The adult beetles can be hand picked and destroyed. However, care should be taken, since when disturbed, they can release a liquid that burns the skin.
- Whenever possible wear gloves to protect the hands. Many types of essential oils extracted from eucalyptus and aromatic herbs can have repellent effects (caution: phytotoxic side effects are possible).
- In addition, rock powder or clay powder (kaolin) could have a repellent effect on these beetles. Since the larvae are beneficial, the aim should not be to destroy all adults, but to keep the numbers in check.