Okra Pests and Diseases:

You’ll agree with me on this…

Customers are happy to pay a premium price for quality okra pods.

They are willing to part with more cash if the okra is:

  • Free from pest and disease marks,
  • Tender—as it is harvested at the right age,
  • Beautiful and pleasing to the eye.

For these reasons, your focus as an Okra farmer should be:

“To produce the best quality okra so than you can maximize on profits.”

Unfortunately, okra pests and diseases often stand in the way of this goal.

This post thus shows you…

  • The pests and diseases stopping you,
  • How to deal with each of them…so that they never cause any problem
  • And much more


Let’s get started: 

Top Pests and diseases that Affect Okra

To start of this discussion let’s examine the notorious okra pests that cause massive damage to okra.

They are:

  • Aphids
  • Corn ear worm
  • Root knot nematodes
  • Spider mites
  • And cutworms

I have given more details of each pest and how to control it effectively below.

Continue reading…

Pest #1: Aphids (myzus persicae)

Aphids are soft bodied insects that often hide underside of the leaves.

For this reason, they are often hard to spot if you aren’t keen.

But if you take time to carefully observe the plants during routine scouting visits, identifying aphids is easy as drinking water.

Aphids cause the yellowing of leaves when they attack a plant.

This damage is serious because it reduces the plants ability to produce high yields as chlorophyll levels are lowered.

That’s not all.

When aphids attack young leaves and growing tips, they become distorted.

This this slows plant growth and leads to stunting thus significantly reducing the yields you are capable of getting from 1 acre of okra.

Aphids also produces honey dew—a sticky substance that encourages the growth of sooty mold on the plants leaves and pods.

This sooty mold is black in color, thus making the produce unsightly to customers.

How to control Aphids in 1-week even if you’ve never done it before:

  • Through pruning.

This method of control works when the aphid population is small.

All you need to do is to cut the part that is infected.

Once you do that, bury the infected part to kill the aphid thus prevent future increased aphid populations.

  • Use disease free planting materials

Don’t use seedlings or transplants that are already infected by aphids.

Its better you control the aphids right at the nursery instead of transferring the aphid to the entire field when transplanting.

  • Chemical sprays play a big role in aphid control

Use pesticides like:

  1. Kingcode elite 10 ml/ 20 liters of water
  2. Aster Extrim 10 ml/20 liters of water
  3. Medal 25 WG 5gms/20 liters of water
  4. Keshet 2.5 EC 12 ml/20 liters of water.


Pest#2: Corn ear worm (Helicoverpa Zea)

The most destructive stage of this pest is the larvae stage.

To begin the life cycle. The adult lays eggs in the buds, flowers, pods, and on the upper and lower surface of leaves.

After 3-5 days, the eggs hatch in to larvae—which immediately begin eating the plant.

To control the pest, regularly monitor the plants for any eggs or young larvae.

Should you find any eggs or young larvae, take appropriate action immediately.

Pest#3: Root knot Nematodes

When nematodes attack okra, they form galls on the roots.

These galls can be up to 3 cm in diameter.

Serious nematodes attack result to low plant vigor hence low yields.

Infected plants will turn yellow and wilt in hot weather.

How to Manage Okra Root Nematodes

Grow resistant okra varieties,

Solarize the soil to reduce nematode population,

Use a pesticide known as adventure at a rate of 5kg/50 kg of fertilizer.

Pest #4: Okra Spider Mites (Tetranychus urticae sp)

Dusty conditions favor the development of spider mites.

Water stressed plants are more susceptible to attacks.

When spider mites attack okra, you will see the following symptoms:

Yellow stripes develop on the leaves

A webbing develops that covers the leaves.

Leaves turn yellow and drop from the plant

You’ll see tiny moving spots on the webs or on the underside of the leaves.

How to manage Red Spider Mites

You can spray the plants with water to wash away the mites when the infestation is not severe.

Avoid dusty conditions by regularly irrigating your farm,

Use chemicals like alonze 3ml/20 liters of water

Pest # 5: Cutworms:

These pests are highly dangerous to okra.

They eat young seedlings at the ground level during the night.

In the daytime, they pull the cut seedlings into the burrows so that they can feed on them.

How to control cutworms:

Drench the soil with pentagon 20 ml/ 20 liters of water

Pest # 6: Thrips

Thrips cause damage to the okra plant by distorting okra leaves.

Symptoms of thrips attacks

Leaves become covered by a silvery coarse stripping.

Black spots develop on the leaves because of the defecation of thrips.

How to control Thrips

To control thrips effectively, use profile at 30 ml in 20 liters of water

Okra diseases:

They include the following:

  • Powdery mildew
  • Fusarium wilt
  • Leaf curl disease
  • And damping off.

Continue reading for more details about each disease and how to control it.

Disease # 1: Okra powdery mildew

This disease is caused by a fungus known as odium asterisk-punicei

Disease symptoms include the following:

  • A white powdery patches that join to cover the entire plant.
  • In severe infestations, leaves roll upwards and appear scotched.

To effectively control powdery mildew, use Chariot at a rate of 20ml in 20 liters of water.

Disease #2: Fusarium wilt:

Warm temperatures favor the development of this disease.

Infected seeds, contaminated equipment can introduce this disease to a field.

Symptoms of Okra Fusarium wilt

  • Both the cotyledons and seedlings wilt
  • Cotyledons becomes chlorotic at the edge then necrotic
  • Leaves become chlorotic then fall off the plants,
  • The vascular system of the infected plants becomes discolored and this can be seen by cutting the stem.
  • Old plants wilt then die

To manage the disease, use greencop at the rate of 100g/20 liters of water.

Related content:

  1. Okra farming in Kenya:
  2. Okra Earns Former waitress Ksh 16,000 per harvest

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