AFTER more than a quarter of a century of work, the banana spotting bug has a new reason to be afraid, with the Queensland Government releasing a pest lure and trap targeting the insect.
Banana spotting bug is a major threat to the production of many crops including avocado, banana, cashews, custard apple, macadamia, mango, blueberry, papaya, guava, lychee, passionfruit, citrus and other tree crops.
The lure and trap relies on a synthetic pheromone that simulates the bug’s own attractant.
The specially-designed trap will allow growers to detect the bug’s presence and then only apply pesticides if and when required.
The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries led the development and commercialisation of the lure and trap.
Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) co-funded the last stage of the research using avocado, custard apple, lychee, macadamia, passionfruit and papaya industry levies and funds from the Australian Government.
QDAF senior entomologist, Ian Newton, said banana spotting bugs were difficult to see as they were camouflaged and shy away from movement, which made monitoring extremely difficult.
“As a result, some growers will often wait until damage is already done, or resort to calendar spraying, which results in too many unnecessary sprays,” Dr Newton said.
“The trap allows growers to make informed decisions on when to spray, based on real-time bug pressure.
"This trap results in spray cost savings, improved fruit quality and reduced losses.”
The trap is now available to all growers to purchase for the first time, under commercial arrangements with Organic Crop Protectants, and will be stocked by most agricultural supply retailers.
OCP managing director, Gary Leeson, said the company was proud to be part of the development of the BSB trap and lure.
“The clean and green image of Australian produce and more importantly the protection of Queensland’s precious natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef relies on the development and implementation of innovative low environmental risk solutions to crop pests," he said.
“Insect pheromone technology and trapping like the BSB lure and trap will help Queensland farmers better predict and control this key pest which is a triple bottom line result for all involved.”