Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Banana scab moth (017)

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  • Narrow distribution. Asia, Oceania. On banana, plantains, Heliconia, Pandanus.
  • Caterpillars feed on skin of the fruit, going from one bunch to the next as the leaves lift. The damaged fruit becomes rough, dark and scab-like as it ages.
  • Cultural control: inspect the crop daily and before the flower stalks are horizontal, (i) partly or completely remove the leaves over the flowers, and (ii) spray the fruit with water or dust with ashes.
  • Chemical control: (i) Biopesticides: spinosad or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis); (ii) synthetic pesticides: inject with e.g., chlorpyrifos, bifenthrin, acephate into the upright bunch. Can also lift/remove leaves and dust or spray before the flower bends over.
Common Name

Banana scab moth

Scientific Name

Nacoleia octasema (previously, Lamprosema octasema)

AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information from DAF (2017) Banana scab moth. Business Queensland. Queensland Government. (; and CABI (2019) Nacoleia octasema (banana scab moth). Crop Protection Compendium. (; and (including Photos 2&4) Schmaedick M (2005) Banana scab moth. American Samoa Community College, Community & Natural Resources, Cooperative Research & Extension. (; and from Henderson RC, Crosby TK (2012) Banana Scab Moth (Nacoleia octasema): PaDIL - Photo 1 Nacoleia octasema caterpillar damaging banana "fingers" (Graham Teakle). Photos 3&6 Mani Mua SPC Sigatoka Research Station, Fiji. Photo 5 CSIRO website of Common Names. (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengtheni4g integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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