Towards biological control of red rust banana thrips in organic and conventional banana

L. Clercx, M. Arias Zambrano, J. Dulanto Bejarano, B. Flores Espinoza
In Ecuador and Peru, red rust banana thrips (Chaetanaphothrips signipennis) has become a plague and serious threat to the sustainability of organic banana production systems and the livelihoods of thousands of small producers and their families. Supermarkets manage a cosmetic policy of zero tolerance for red spots on the banana peel caused by these thrips. In conventional banana, thrips are controlled with bunch sleeves impregnated with insecticide (such as Chlorpyrifos). This solution is no option for the organic banana sector. Since the massive introduction of these bunch sleeves in the banana industry 40 years ago, little research has been carried out on banana thrips. In response to the growing economic losses of small banana farmers, a bi-national research project on banana thrips and alternative control methods was carried out in 2011-2013 by TASTE in Peru and INIAP in Ecuador. In Ecuador, progress was made with unraveling the lifecycle of these thrips and identification of host plants in banana plantations. In Peru, several fungi were tested on their entomopathogenic characteristics in the laboratory and the field. It was found that Lecanicilium lecanii did not have effect on Frankliniella parvula and Chaetanaphothrips signipennis nymphs, whereas Isaria fumorosea had entomopathogenic effects in concentrations of 8×106 conidia mL-1 in the laboratory, and 3×1010, 1011 and 1012 conidia L-1 in the field. The promising results of both projects presented at two international seminars (June 2012, March 2013), laid the foundations for research guidelines that should lead to sustainable solutions for integrated pest management in organic and conventional banana.
Clercx, L., Arias Zambrano, M., Dulanto Bejarano, J. and Flores Espinoza, B. (2015). Towards biological control of red rust banana thrips in organic and conventional banana. Acta Hortic. 1105, 73-80
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1105.11
Chaetanaphothrips signipennis, integrated pest management, taxonomy of thrips, hosts of thrips, reduction agrochemicals, viability organic production systems, entomopathogenic fungi

Acta Horticulturae