Pest Control, Sericulture, Dairy, Fish Icon

January 31, 2022

Pest Control

In the rainy season in the last week of Shrávańa there is water in the paddy fields of Bengal.

In these fields we should cultivate fish, but fishermen should not be allowed to catch these fish while the paddy is still growing. Harmful insecticides or pesticides should not be used in these fields because they will kill the fish and pollute the water system.

Alternative pesticides like neem paste pesticide should be used.

If copper sulphate spray is used, care should be taken to use the minimum amount because it is harmful.

Neem paste can be prepared from neem leaves. Before planting the paddy, during the last ploughing, neem oil cakes should be ploughed into the fields.

In addition, neem paste pesticide with urea should be used whenever there is an attack of insects. Copper sulphate solution can also be mixed with urea.

Fish should not be the food of human beings, but the food of jackals, birds, foxes and other fish and crabs.

If the paddy water drains into ponds, lakes or rivers, small fish will flourish and become the food of larger fish, birds and animals. In this way the farmers will be helping maintain ecological balance.

To kill the worms which attack cauliflower crops, soapy water mixed with a small amount of kerosene may be sprayed on the cauliflowers. The soapy water will let the kerosene wash off the cauliflowers easily and not harm humans.

Snakes will likely be found wherever wax gourd is cultivated.

To avoid this, iishanmula [Aristolochia indica Linn.] is used because snakes are afraid of its smell. Snakes are also afraid of any copper salt. Wherever there is copper salt snakes will not be found, as in Ghatshila and Maobhandar, near Tatanagar.

Water kept in a bronze pot becomes antiseptic due to the copper in the bronze. Copper sulphate is poisonous for human beings.

Useful Products From Insects

In Bengal, production based on insects has 3 main branches:

  1. Sericulture

The first is sericulture. There are 2 main varieties of silk in Bengal:

  • mulberry
  • non-mulberry.

Mulberry silkworms feed on mulberry leaves, and produce 2 qualities of silk:

  • fine quality (garad)
  • rough quality (matka)

Non-mulberry silk includes muuṋgá, tasar and endy.

In the muuṋgá variety the silkworms feed on drumsticks. In the tasar variety the worms feed on many plants such as sal [Shorea robusta Gaertn. f.], arjuna [Terminalia arjuna Bedd.], Indian plum [Zizyphus jujube Linn.], asan [Terminalia tomentosa Bedd.], Assamese swalu [Kadsura hetroclita], a bush which is mostly confined to Assam, and Indian rosewood (svet sal) [Dalbergia latifolia Roxb.]. In the endy variety the silkworms feed on castor leaves.

The mulberry silkworm is a domesticated variety of silkworm.

Tasar is a naturally grown variety of silkworm.

In this variety, the cocoons are put on trees in order for the larvae to feed.

Once the larvae have hatched the cocoons are collected from the trees. In tasar production the trees are kept to the manageable height of six feet, otherwise it would be impractical to collect the cocoons.

In domesticated silk production moths lay eggs, and then larvae hatch from the eggs, eat leaves, grow to their full size and finally spin a cocoon made of silk.

The cocoons are usually dried in the sun or boiled to kill the larvae. As the larvae are in a state of natural hibernation, when they are killed in this way they do not feel pain.

The silk cocoons are collected and spun into silk thread. Silk production is a profitable industry, and silk is an excellent clothing fibre.

Some silk plants such as mulberry and Indian plum also produce fruit. Different crops can be grown around silk plants so that there is maximum utilization of agricultural land.

Non-grafted seedlings of mulberry give more foliage for silk production than grafted seedlings. Malda is a good source of mulberry. Mulberry seedlings should be planted in such a way that their shade does not fall on agricultural land.

The following should be grown between 2 mulberry plants:

  1. Where the land is extremely rocky and there is no soil, soil should be brought from outside so that palm, Indian plum and custard-apple saplings, not seedlings, can be planted between two mulberry plants. Research should be done on the custard-apple and the Indian plum.

  2. Where the land is extremely rocky but there are accumulations of soil between the rocks, thorny puneala plum (thorny paniala) [Flacourtia jangomas (Lour) Raeusch.] and custard-apple can be planted between two mulberry plants. Research should be done on the thorny puneala plum.

  3. Where the land is less rocky, non-thorny puneala plum (non-thorny paniala) and custard-apple can be planted between two mulberry plants. Research should be done on the non-thorny puneala plum.

  4. Where the land is a bit better than in number three above, date palm (khejur) and custard-apple saplings can be planted between two mulberry plants.

Custard-apple varieties from abroad should be brought to India as far as possible, especially the variety from the Philippines, which is a large variety. Sporting goods can be made from mulberry wood. Mulberry can be grown successfully in Ánanda Nagar.

  1. Lac culture.

Lacquer is produced by insects grown on trees such as palash [Butea frondosa Koenig-ex Roxb.], Indian plum and kusum [Schleichera trijuga Willd.]. Lac should not be grown on all Indian plum trees, otherwise fruit production will be affected.

Lacquer may be used as protective varnish for furniture, etc.

  1. Apiculture

In apiculture, bees produce rectified honey and pure beeswax from a variety of flowers.

The types of bees include wild bees like rock bees which cannot be tamed, and bush bees which can be tamed. Specially bred bees should be encouraged, but wild bees should not be prevented from entering our gardens. All bees, including wild bees, should be allowed in our gardens.

Bee boxes can be located near oil-seeds, flower gardens, neem trees, Indian olives and grapes. The honey in the bee boxes should be collected regularly. In Bengal the period of maximum flowering for these plants is March, April, May and June.

Floral nectar can be collected directly from some special flowers which naturally produce honey. More research on all kinds of floral honey should be done.