By Mugenyi Joseph
Today we shall look at soil insect pests that attack bananas
- Grubs: It’s the immature stage of scrap beetles that are hatched in the soil. They mostly attack roots.
Signs after damage are; Wilting due to root damage, Yellowing of leaves, Toppling due to lack of support.
- Burrowing nematodes: These are the most common pests in bananas and actually spend most of their adult life in banana roots and corn tissue. After entering the roots they feed on the cytoplasm of nearby cells, as such destroying them.
Symptoms of such attack include; Reddish brown lesions throughout the cortex, Roots blacken and die, Exposed Roots, Leaf yellowing and very often, stunted Plant growth.
- Termites: They feed on cellulose in the roots of seedlings.
Symptoms of attack include; The leaves get dry and seedlings can easily be pulled out, In the later stage the whole seedlings wither.
Other banana pests include;
- a) Nematodes: This is a migratory endoparasite spending its adult vermiform life in the root and corn tissue. After entering the roots, they feed on the cytoplasm of nearby cells, as such destroying them and causing cavities.
Symptoms of attack: Reddish brown lesions throughout the cortex, Roots blacked and die, Exposed Roots,Leaf yellowing and Stunted plant growth.
b)Rot: Crown root- This is a fungal infection that affects harvested bananas. This causes rot and necrosis on tissues joining fingers with each other.
c)Cigar end rot-This causes dry rot of the flower end that produces an ash grey wrinkled lesion similar to the burnt end of cigar.
d)Foliar insect pests:Banana aphids-These are phloem feeders and use its long styles to pierce plant tissues to suck the sap directly from vessels.These make the banana plant deform with curled and shriveled leaves.
e)Thrip: These are tiny insects which feed on very young, succulent, immature fruits, flowers and foliage.
These cause; discoloration and silvering near the petiole end of developed, unfurled leaves,Reduced plant growth,Deformity of plant, Young fruits have dark, Smokey- coloured random squiggle or curlicue feeding tracks, Mature fruits have oval-shaped reddish stains where fingers touch.
- f) Scab moth: It’s larvae stage is the most destructive.It causes surficial scarring on young fruits and damaged areas form a black, callous rendering the fruits unmarketable.
Next time we shall look at the control of all these banana diseases talked about. Thank you very much.
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Mugenyi Joseph (MJ Farmer) is a practicing Agribusiness entrepreneur based in Kibiito and a software Engineering student at Makerere University. He can be reached on 0701-443309, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org