Management of Banana Bunchy Top in Hawaii

2005 Annual Report for SW04-064

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2004: $90,458.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Cerruti R. R. Hooks
University of Maryland

Management of Banana Bunchy Top in Hawaii


The objective of our work is to study the ecology and epidemiology of the virus (Banana bunchy top virus) and its vector (banana aphid, Pentalonia nigronervosa) and to develop management practices for this important disease of banana in Hawaii.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Objectives of the project include:
. better understanding of the banana aphid biology and ecology
. study banana bunchy top virus spread in commercial fields
. determine disease parameters that are important to the development of virus management practices


Sampling plan for banana aphid – We are finalizing data analyses needed for the development of a sampling plan in banana for the banana aphid. The sampling plan will provide growers with information on how to best sample for the presence of banana aphids in their plantations. Over 2,500 plants have been sampled in these surveys.
Aphid distribution within plants – Although it has been widely assumed that the banana aphid occurs preferentially on cigar leaves (new unfurled leaves), our whole-plant surveys have shown that not to be true. We found that the lower leaf bracts of plants more accurately indicate the presence or absence of aphid infestation on individual banana suckers. We found that sampling only the cigar leaf provides false negatives for the presence of aphids on plants in approximately 50% of cases. We are incorporating these results into our sampling plan.
Imidacloprid tests (Provado® efficiency and persistence)- Lab trials examining the efficiency and persistency of Provado® on banana aphid mortality have been completed. This work is important because there are no insecticides currently available to control the banana aphid in Hawaii. We are now analyzing the results.
Survey of BBTV spread in commercial plantations – We have two farmers collaborating with us on this objective. They are providing GPS data on the location of infected plants. Fortunately, these farmers are among the largest growers on Oahu, and they are providing us valuable data that will help us better understand BBTV epidemiology. We have monthly data from these two farms starting January 2005. The spatial and temporal spread of BBTV in these farms will be analyzed after more more data are collected.
Aphid biology – We are conducting experiments to determine aphid fecundity, longevity and length of nymphal stage. Data will be used to develop models for population growth at different temperatures.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Our preliminary results are informally being passed on to banana growers. We have also given a talk to banana growers earlier this year, and will give another talk highlighting our results and what they mean early next year. Additionaly, we have scheduled a workshop with banana growers for March 2006.

Wright, M.G., Almeida, R.P.P., Hooks, C.R.R. and Robson, J.D. Aphids and banana bunchy top virus in Hawaii. Invited presentation. 2005 Pacific Entomology Conference, Invasive Species Symposium.
Robson, J.D., Wright, M.G. and Almeida, R.P.P. Biology and ecology of Pentalonia nigronervosa Coq. (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in Hawaii. Presentation at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America.
Wright, M.G., Hooks, C.R.R., Robson, J.D. and Almeida, R.P.P. Aphids and banana bunchy top virus in Hawaii. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society. In preparation.

Our research has been highlighted by a USDA-CSREES movie. We also collaborated in the design of a BBTV awareness poster.


Mark Wright
Assistant Professor / Extension Specialist
University of Hawaii
3050 Maile Way, Room 310
Honolulu, HI 96822
Office Phone: 8089567670
Rodrigo Almeida
Assistant Professor
University of Hawaii
3050 Maile Way, Room 310
Honolulu, HI 96822
Office Phone: 8089566741
Larry Jefts
Jefts Farm
PO Box 27
Kunia, HI 96759
Scott Chun
Campesion Enterprise
41-869 Mahiku Place
Waimanalo, HI 96795
koon-Hui Wang

Assistant Nematologist
University of Hawaii at Manoa
3050 Maile Way Gilmore 310
Honolulu, HI 96822
Office Phone: 8089562429
Eden Perez

Junior Plant Pathologist
University of Hawaii at Manoa
3050 Maile Way Gilmore Hall 310
Honolulu, HI 96822
Office Phone: 8089562429
Richard Ha
Mauna Kea Banana Company
421 Lama St.
Hilo, HI 96720
Khamphout Chandara

Khamphout Farm
Kunia, HI
Alec Sou

Operational Manager
Aloun Farms
91-1440 Farrington Hwy
Ewa, HI