Banana Fruit Caterpillar(Tiracola plagiata)

Minor and sporadic. Usually attack bunches on the edges of a plantation, near scrub or rainforest.

Larvae feed on both foliage and fruit. Large larvae feed deep into the fruit while smaller, younger larvae feed on the rind of immature fruit causing irregular-shaped brown patches of damage to exposed fruit surfaces.

The damage is more severe and visible than that caused by the banana scab moth-damage that tends to be shallower and confined to the underside of the fruit where it joins the bunch stalk. Because of their large size, one or two larvae can destroy all the fruit on the bunch.

Examine bunches on 100 trees in known hot spot areas of the crop. Spray if more than five out of 100 bunches are infested. Bunches in rows adjacent to native vegetation are usually more at risk and treatment should be directed to these areas.

No specific controls are usually required since bunch treatments to control sugar cane bud moth and rust thrips provide adequate control of banana fruit caterpillar.




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The vast majority of the bananas currently grown and consumed were not conventionally bred but are selections made over probably thousands of years from naturally occurring hybrids. Cultivated bananas are very nearly sterile and as a consequence are not propagated from seed but rather through vegetative propagation, primarily suckers as well as more recently micropropagated or tissue cultured bananas. These factors, very old selections, near sterility and vegetative propagation, mean that these bananas have not been genetically improved either for resistance or improved quality and are becoming increasing in affected by serious pests and diseases.

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