How to protect bananas from pests and diseases?

How to protect banana from pest and disease?
How to protect banana from pest and disease?

This blog provides in-depth information on the effects of diseases and pests on banana production and how farmers can prevent them.

The banana has been a staple food in many nations since the beginning of recorded history. It is the most widely planted soft fruit crop in equatorial and subtropical regions of the world.

The banana currently holds the top spot in India’s flourishing fruit sector. However, Its cultivation is vulnerable to many insect pests and diseases. Some diseases and insect pests can quickly spread through planting materials and can be highly harmful and contagious. Once established, they are persistent and tough to manage.

Banana plants are affected by various insect pests at multiple stages of growth, which lowers the potential output of a successful banana plantation.

Rest easy! In this blog, we’ll go over all the strategies that can help you spot the major diseases and pests right on time and take precautions to safeguard your banana farming.

Major pests and diseases in bananas

Pests and diseasesSymptomsManagement
AphidsA rosette-like arrangement of leaves is formed. 

Leaf margins have wavy appearances.

Leaf margins roll upward.
Prune the infected areas.

Practice mulching.

Use yellow sticky traps.
Caterpillar/Skipper Rolling of leaves.

Tearing of leaves.
Collect and dispose of leaf rolls.

To lure and kill the adults, use light traps.
SigatokaLight grey elliptical dots with a yellow halo on the leaves.

Uneven desiccated tissue patches.
Ensure adequate drainage.

Grow resistant varieties.

Remove the damaged leaves.

Aphids

Aphids are the major pest that negatively impacts banana plantations. Aphids infect bananas in three different ways: by feeding on the sap of the plants, removing nutrients and water from the plants; by creating honeydew, which draws the sooty moulds and other dark fungi; and by dispersing viruses.

Aphid infection in bananas is a significant source of concern for farmers. It is crucial that the farmer recognises the signs at the appropriate time and takes preventive measures.

Symptoms

The identification measures to identify aphid infestation in bananas are listed below:

  • Stunted growth, a rosette-like look of the leaves, and wavy, upward-rolling leaf edges are major symptoms of aphid attack.
  • Banana aphid act as a carrier for Bunchy top disease.
  • It is seen in colonies on the stem and leaves.
Banana aphids
Banana aphids

Management

The best ways to control aphid infestation are listed below:

  • Encourage the activity of predators like Chrysoperla carnea, Scymnus, Chilomenes sexmaculatus, and other coccinellids to provide biological resistance to aphids.
  • Practice sanitation in the field.
  • Maintain good weed control.
  • Prune the infected areas.
  • Practice mulching.
  • Use yellow sticky traps.

Caterpillar/ skipper

The banana skipper can be a minor to serious pest of bananas. In remote areas, damage to banana clumps is distributed very unevenly, varying from severe defoliation to none on clumps(groups of plants/ trees) growing nearby. Strong winds and continuous rain are not favourable for banana skippers. When an infestation is severe enough, banana producers may consider the species to be a nuisance.

Symptoms

The identification measures to detect caterpillar/skipper attacks in bananas are listed below:

  • The caterpillars cause harm by tearing apart the leaves and repeatedly rolling up the leaf blade so they can safely eat inside them.
  • When disturbed, the caterpillar swings side to side and discharges a greenish fluid.
  • The larva secretes a protective, white, waxy covering inside the roll.
  • As a result of the feeding and rolling, the plant’s leaf area is drastically reduced, which reduces fruit production.
Banana skipper
Banana skipper

Management

The best ways to control caterpillar/skipper attacks in bananas are listed below:

  • Numerous helpful insects effectively manage the banana skipper, negating the need for further control measures. The parasitoids such as Xanthopimpla sp., Pediobius sp., and Brachymeria sp. aid in the biological suppression of banana skipper.
  • The collecting and disposing leaf rolls may lessen further damage if outbreaks are exceptionally heavy.
  • Collect and eliminate caterpillars and egg masses.
  • To lure and kill the adults, use light traps.
Xanthopimpla sp., Pediobius sp., and Brachymeria sp.
Xanthopimpla sp., Pediobius sp., and Brachymeria sp.

Sigatoka in banana

The destructive disease known as Sigatoka, which results in a rapid reduction in fruit output, damages banana farms over a wide geographic area. The Sigatoka leaf spot is a dangerous fungal disease that has become a concern for banana growers across India, particularly in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Assam.

Symptoms

The following are the identification measures that indicate the presence of Sigatoka disease in bananas:

  • There are light grey elliptical dots with a yellow halo around the centre of the leaves.
  • Frequently, the spots come together to form uneven desiccated tissue patches.
  • Rapid drying and leaf defoliation are the disease’s distinguishing characteristics.
Sigatoka in banana
Sigatoka in banana

Management

The best ways to control Sigatoka in bananas are listed below:

  • Removal and disposal of the damaged leaves.
  • Keep the banana field weed-free and swiftly pull suckers to get rid of Sigatoka.
  • Plants should not be planted too close together.
  • Ensure effective drainage to avoid water logging in the fields, which fosters infection.
  • Grow resistant varieties.
  • Fertilise with enough potassium should be used.
  • Do not let weeds grow in the fields.
  • Under the canopy, drip irrigation can lessen splash dispersion.
  • By minimising puddles and ensuring the crop has the best ventilation possible, you can reduce the humidity as much as possible.

Conclusion

The banana is the most widely produced marketable fruit crop in the world and is a significant staple food in many developing nations. Numerous diseases and pests influence banana crops around the world. Novel and quick technologies for detecting pests and diseases will allow for more efficient surveillance and the development of control measures. Tools driven by artificial intelligence are becoming more widely available, even to people in rural parts of the world. For smallholder farmers, this is good news because it allows them to operate their fields more effectively by connecting them to markets, extension agents, satellite photos, and climate data. Technology is also becoming the first line of defence against pests and viruses that might ruin farmers’ harvests.

How can Fasal assist?

  • Most banana diseases and pest outbreaks occur in areas with high humidity, continuous leaf wetness, and cooler temperatures. The Fasal AI-based technology helps the farmers manage the disease’s causes and helps them increase the yield of their banana plants through its sensors.
  • The precision agriculture-based Fasal technology proposes time, location, and crop-specific solutions tailored to the precise circumstances of a site in issue.
  • Our technology decreases the risk of disease and pest infestation. Additionally, it keeps track of rainfall, humidity, temperature, projections for canopy levels, and an ultra hyper-local macroclimatic forecast to warn farmers when conditions are suitable for the growth of pests and diseases.
  • According to the specifics of a farm, Fasal technology develops several management approaches and offers treatments based on the stages of pest and disease development.
  • Additionally, our system makes recommendations for reducing risks and calculates a farm’s susceptibility to pest and disease infestation at every stage.

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