Bunch pest management
Managing bunch pests is important to producing good quality bananas. Control of bunch pests, including flower thrips, rust thrips and scab moth, by bell injecting, bunch spraying and/or dusting with registered insecticides is undertaken to ensure market specifications are met.
The current focus of bunch pest research is on a range of chemical, biological and cultural controls that can be used as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. The aim of an IPM strategy is to reduce reliance on chemicals for pest control—which is important for two main reasons.
The first is that regular use of the same chemical can lead to resistance in pest populations, resulting in the chemical being no longer effective. The second is the risk of losing access to chemicals as a result of deregistration following review by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
With this in mind, research is currently focused on evaluating the effectiveness of new chemistries as well as ‘softer’ biological and cultural pest control options.