Gabriele Stoll
Natural Crop Protection in the Tropics
Letting Information Come to Life
Methods of Field Protection
Insect-controlling plants

Curcuma domestica
Fam. Zingiberaceae

Turmeric is a perennial plant with a short stem and tufted leaves. It originated in India and Southeast Asia, where it grows in deciduous monsoon forests. Today it is grown on a large scale in India, China and the East Indies, and has reached worldwide distribution. It thrives up to 2,000 metres in places with a rainfall of 1,000–2,000 mm. It grows well on loams and alluvial soils, but does not tolerate water logged soil conditions. It is often grown as a successional crop to rice or sugar cane, but also in mixed cultivation with vegetables. It is an important spice and has considerable commercial importance as one of the principal ingredients of curry. Turmeric responds well to organic manures and yields 13,000–33,500 kg/ha of rhizomes.
Plant parts with insect-controlling properties
Mode of action
Repellent, insecticidal, antifungal.

Target pests
Field insects
Beet armyworm
Cotton semilooper  
Diamondback moth
Green leafhopper
Rice stem borer
Rice leafroller
Spodoptera litura
Anomis flava
Plutella xylostella
Nephotettix virescens
Scirpophaga incertulus
Cnaphalocrocis medinalis
Field diseases
Powdery mildew
Oidiopsis taurica
Erysiphe spp.
Storage insects
Cowpea weevil
Grain weevil
Lesser grain borer
Adzuki bean weevil
Rice flour beetle
Rice weevil
Callosobruchus maculatus
Sitophilus granarius
Rhizopertha dominica
Callosobruchus chinensis
Tribolium spp.
Sitophilus oryzae
Methods of preparation and use

Turmeric has excellent pest repellent properties. In combination with cow urine it controls several diseases and pests. PERIES proposes dipping a thread in turmeric liquid and stretching it over paddyfields to produce the repellent effect against unspecified rice pests

1 kg of turmeric rhizomes are shredded and 3–4 litres of cow urine are added and mixed well. The mixture is diluted with 15–20 litres of water. Emulsifier is added at the rate of 4 ml/litre to the solution.

In Thailand, 500 g of turmeric rhizomes are chopped and soaked overnight in 2 litres of water. The next day the extract is filtered and filled up to 20 litres. Sprayed to control vegetable pests such as diamondback moth and beet armyworm.
Attracting predatory birds
This yellow rice attracts birds which then feed on pest larvae in the paddy, e.g. armyworms, rice stemborers.
1 kg of rice and 125 g of turmeric powder are required to treat one hectare of paddyfield. The rice is cooked and excess water is filtered. Then it is mixed with turmeric powder. Small lumps of yellow coloured rice are put in small vessels and placed in the main field in 8 to 10 places. At the same time, some poles are stuck into the field as resting sites for the birds.
This procedure is started once larvae are observed and repeated until the crop reaches the flowering stage. The turmeric rice should be renewed every 2–3 days.

Other uses of plant or substance
Turmeric is highly appreciated in traditional medicine, as condiment in food preparation, natural dye and for religious rituals.