Banana Fruit Caterpillar (BFC) - Tiracola plagiata
In the Bundaberg region Banana Fruit Caterpillar has emerged as a major pest for some growers.
We are keen to identify “softer” options than spraying methomyl which is disruptive to natural enemies of this and other pests.
Where does it come from? Breeding within farm or flying or crawling in?
Natural enemies are known but we need to find out more about them.
How can we protect and enhance the beneficials activity?
Should BFC’s natural enemies be factored into an IPM program before spraying?
Are there beneficials that we should consider mass rearing?
What other tools can be used to suppress BFC?
If you find good numbers of BFC please notify us as we are keen to collect natural enemies and do some experiments.
Options to be investigated:
Parasitoids are present - how can we enhance their activity?
Bran Baits were used successfully back in the 1930's.
Bacillus thuringiensis - a bacterial insecticide that is likley to be effective against small caterpillars is not toxic to beneficial insects.
Trunk barriers may be an option at some sites
Entomopathogenic nematodes will be screened for their effectiveness.
DAF General Information
Macadamia Growers - Brice Kaddatz article from 2010
Mulch removed to show BFC larvae (from Brice's web page)
Damage in bananas - from DAF site