International Journal of Tropical Insect Science

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 809–813 | Cite as

Biological Control of Sugar-Cane Pests in Mauritius: A Case Study

  • S. Facknath
Special Section Pest Management and the African Farmer


There are 43 identified insect pests of sugar-cane in Mauritius, of which several are important enough to warrant control measures. However, insecticides are not used for this purpose. All the insect pests of sugar-cane are controlled biologically. This includes traditional biological control using parasites or predators, as well as more recent biology-based methods like the use of resistant cane varieties, sex pheromones, etc.

Mauritius has the distinction of being the first country on record to have successfully introduced a natural enemy, namely the Minah bird, specifically to combat a pest—the Red Locust, Nomadacris septemfasciata, in 1792.

Very few of the insect pests in Mauritius are indigenous; most of them are exotic, having been accidentally introduced into the country, one way or the other. Some of the important ones include: spotted stem borer (Chilo sacchariphagus), armoured scale (Aulacaspis tegalensis), white grub (Clemora smithi), white grub (Heteronychus licas), soft scale (Pulvinaria iceyi), armyworm (Leucania loreyi) and pink borer (Sesamia calamistis).

The introduction of various natural enemies from different parts of the world has been made over the years with different degrees of success. In all, there are presently a total of 102 species of parasites and predators controlling 43 species of sugar-cane insect pests.

With sugar-cane spread out over most of the island and representing 90% of all cultivated land, close vigilance over the important pest populations, and swift counter measures as appropriate, is required. This task is being performed efficiently and successfully by the Mauritius Sugar Industry Research Institute.

Key Words

Nomadacris septemfasciata biological control sugar-cane pests Chilo sacchariphagus Aulacaspis tegalensis Clemora smithi Heteronychus licas Pulvinaria iceyi Leucania loreyi Sesamia calamistis 

Mots Clefs

Nomadacris septemfasciata lutte biologique ravageurs de la canne à sucre Chilo sacchariphagus Aulacaspis tegalensis Clemora smithi Heteronychus licas Pulvinaria iceyi Leucania loreyi 


Il y a dans l’lle Maurice 43 ravageurs identifiés de la canne a sucre, dont quelques uns sont d’importance economique et de ce fait necessitant des mesures de lutte. Le controle des ravageurs de la canne a sucre est basée sur des methodes de lutte biologique; par exemple l’utilisation des parasites et des predateurs ainisique l’introduction des nouvelles methodes tels que les variètés de la canne a sucre resistantes aux ravageurs, les pheromones sexuelles, etc. L’ile Maurice a la distinction d’etre Ie premier pays a introduire avec succes l’oiseau Minah, ennemie naturel de Nomadacris septemfasciata en 1972. La plupart des ravageurs de la canne a sucre furent introduit accidentellement. Les plus importants ravageurs sont: Chilo sacchariphagus, Aulacaspis tegalensis, Clemora smithi, Heteronychus licas, Pulvinaria iceyi, Leucania loreyi et Sesamia calamistis. L’introduction des differents ennemies naturels au cours des ans a eu des effets varies sur la canne a sucre. Il ya actuellement un total de 102 espèces de parasites et predateurs qui controllent les 43 especes de ravageurs de la canne a sucre. Avec la canne a sucre cultivé sur presque tout l’etendue du territoire (90 % de la surface cultivable), il est necessaire de porter l’attention sur la population des ravageurs et prendre des mesures appropries pour les controller. Grace à l’Institut Mauriclen de la Recherche industrielle sur la canne a sucre les mesures de controlle sont entrain d’etre implementer.


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Facknath
    • 1
  1. 1.School of AgricultureUniversity of MauritiusReduitMauritius

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