Pod fly (Melanagromyza chalcosoma)
It is a small black fly that lays eggs through the walls of developing pods. The maggots (white in colour and about 3 mm long) feed inside the green seed. The brown barrel shaped pupa is formed inside the pod but outside the seed.
There are no obvious external symptoms of attack till the fully-grown maggot chews holes in the pod walls leaving a window through which the flies emerge after pupation in the pod. Damaged seeds are of no value. The pod fly causes most damage on pigeon pea maturing during cool weather and pigeon pea planted at altitudes higher than 500 m above sea level.
- In areas where the pod fly is a problem, it is best to avoid growing a mixture of cultivars of differing duration in one area because this will provide pods over a long period and allow several generations of the pod fly to develop.
- Neem has given control of a related pod fly (M. obtusa) on pigeon pea in India. Four weekly applications of aqueous neem seed extract (ANSE) 50g/l and fortnightly sprays of aqueous neem kernel extract (ANKE) 80g/l have given effective control (Ostermann and Dreyer, 1995). For more information on neem click here.