Banana Plant Pest

Bananas are moncoyledonous herbaceous plants, not trees, of which there are two species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana, native to Southeast Asia. Most banana cultivars are hybrids of these two species.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Info On Banana Plant Pests – Learn About Banana Plant Diseases
A number of insect pests can affect banana plants. Here are the most common:

Banana Plant Pest; Nematodes

Nematodes are a common banana plant pest. They cause rotting of the corms and act as a vector to the fungus Fusarium oxysporum. There are a number of different species of nematode that like bananas as much as we do. Commercial farmers apply nematicides, which when properly applied, will protect the crop. Otherwise, the soil has to be cleared, plowed and then exposed to the sun and left fallow for up to 3 years.

Banana Plant Pest; Weevils

The black weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus) or banana stalk borer, banana weevil borer or corm weevil, is the second most destructive pest. Black weevils attack the base of the pseudostem and tunnel upward whereupon a jelly-like sap oozes out from the entry point. Different pesticides are used commercially depending upon the country to control black weevils. Biological control utilizes a predator, Piaesius javanus, but has not been shown to have any truly beneficial results.

Banana Plant Pest; Thrips

Banana rust thrips (C. signipennis), as its name suggests, stains the peel, causing it to split and exposes the flesh which then begins to rot. Insecticidal dust (Diazinon) or a spraying of Dieldrin can control thrips, which pupate in the soil. Additional insecticides combined with polyethylene bagging are also used to control thrips on commercial farms.

Banana Plant Pest; Scarring beetle

The banana fruit scarring beetle, or coquito, invades the bunches when the fruit it young. The banana scab moth infests the inflorescence and is controlled with the use of an injection or dusting of pesticide.

Banana Plant Pest; Sap-sucking insects

Mealybugs, red spider mites and aphids may also pay a visit to banana plants.

Banana Plant Pest; Cluster Caterpillar

Young larvae feed in close groups and destroy one side of the leaf leaving the opposite side intact. Damaged areas appear clear at first but quickly turn brown. When larger and more solitary larvae feed on the rolled up ‘cigar leaf’ a ‘shot hole’ effect becomes apparent when this leaf expands. On rare occasions large solitary larvae feed on fruit causing superficial scarring.

Banana Plant Pest; Banana Rust Thrip ;

The adult is slender, 1.5 mm long, creamy yellow to golden brown with delicate feathery wings. The front margin of the wings is made up of a fringe of black hairs and, when at rest, these give the adult thrips a characteristic longitudinal black stripe down the middle of the abdomen. Two eye-like dark patches at the base of the wings are characteristic of adult rust thrips. These patches can be used to distinguish from the smaller males of the banana flower thrips.

Control Options;

Cultural : Obtain thrips-free planting material and, if possible, hot water treat prior to planting out. Destroy all volunteer plants and old neglected plantations that harbour the pest and that could act as a source of thrips to spread to other plantings.

Sound (unbroken) bunch covers (which cover the full length of the bunch) do provide some protection if applied very early. These cannot be relied upon to fully protect fruit, particularly during severe infestations. Regular checking of fruit under the bunch covers is essential to ensure that damage is not occurring. Ensure treatments are applied immediately after detection to prevent further damage.

Biological : General predators such as lacewings and ladybird beetles exert some control over rust thrips on the plant, and ants may be effective in removing some of the pupae in the soil.

Chemical : Chemical control should be directed at both the soil-dwelling pupal stage and the adults and larvae on the fruit and plant. Failure to control the pest at both sites will result in continuous re-infestation, especially during the hot, humid periods of the year.

Soil treatments: The treatments aimed at banana weevil borer in September/October will provide temporary control of rust thrips.

Fruit/plant treatments: All bunches, the pseudostem and the suckers should be sprayed with an approved pesticide. This control method can disrupt beneficial insects so exercise caution.

Bunch treatments: Pesticide injection for scab moth provides early bunch protection against rust thrips. Extended protection up to harvest should then be provided by one insecticide application to the bunch or by the application of the recommended length of SusCon ribbon at the time the bunch cover is applied.

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3 thoughts on “Banana Plant Pest

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