Bioecology of the millet head miner, Heliocheilus albipunctella De Joannis (Lepidoptera : Noctuidae) in the Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso
Pearl millet, Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br., main cereal crop in the Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso, is attacked by the millet head miner, Heliocheilus albipunctella De Joannis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) which causes considerable damage. Previous studies on this pest have been conducted on ecology, biology and biological control. However, knowledge of some bioecological parameters of H. albipunctella remains to be elucidated. This is necessary in order to strengthen existing control strategies for more effective control of the pest. Thus, the work carried out for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016 showed that the proportion of adults captured in light traps was four females for one male. The rate of gravid females was between 73 and 100%, whether they were fed by honey solution or fasting. In addition, no adults of H. albipunctella were captured in the dry season. To ensure their progeny, females prefer lay eggs on 1/3 extension and fully expanded panicles. They have a lifespan of 4 days and live longer than males. The average egg hatch rate was more than 89% with a survival rate for stage 1 (L1) larvae ranging from 41 to 88% on millet panicles depending on the number of L1 present on the millet panicle. In farmers' fields, the damage caused by MHM is important with more than 40% of panicles destroyed. In addition, no female lays eggs on a panicle that has previously received eggs from another female. The implications of these results for control strategies against this pest are discussed.