Pest of the Month March 2012 – Banana Moth

  • Distribution: Islands of Oahu and Hawaii
  • Host:  Mortality in Hawaii has been found in Pritchardia sp., floribunda palm, foxtail palm, Manila palm, and coconut palm.  Alternate hosts include grasses, banana, and coffee as well as in any decaying vegetation
  • Symptoms:  Browning of leaves, heart leaves easily pulled out with necrosis of living stem tissues beneath, heart rot, entry holes of larvae, and frass pellets.
  • Management:  Minimize plant stress especially due to drought and poor nutrition, herbicide overspray, and over-pruning of leaves.  Pruned surfaces should be treated with an approved insecticide such as one derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (“Bt”). 

Source: Banana Moth – A Potentially Fatal Pest of Pritchardia and Other Palms, Dr. Scot Nelson and Dr. Mark Wright, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Cooperative Extension Service, Insect Pests IP-24, September 2005.

Banana moth larvae. Photo by Dr. Scot Nelson, UH CTAHR