Insect Ecology and Integrated Pest Management Lab, University of Hawaii at Manoa

News on tropical fruit and nut pests and IPM recommendations

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This page will be updated regularly. Last update: 31 August 2011


Local Pest News Updates:

Coffee berry Borer on Big island: Hypothenemus hampei, a severe pest of coffee was detected in Hawaii in 2010. Currently we are working on control measures including beetle trapping, biological pesticides, and seeking local predators. See the CTAHR CBB page for fuher information.

Small hive beetle. Bad news for bee keepers. Click here for information on this pest. Contact Dr. Ethel Villalobos for further rinformation.

Survey for Honeybe viruses - In collaboration with Dr Steve Martin (UK), we are examining the distribution of bee viruses in relation to Varroa infestation in Hawaii. We seek to colelct samples from feral bee colonies. If anyone has seen bees, please let us know ( where the hives are so that we can get samples. No hives are being killed during this sampling.

Varroa mite on honeybees in Hawaii
: We have launched a project on varroa mite surveillance and management, with funding from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and in collaboration with HDoA staff. We will be attending to eradication of feral hives at ports to reduce the likelihood of varroa mites moving among islands, examining possible non-target impacts of using baited toxins for hive eradication and examining aspects of bee behavior related to these efforts. Dr. Ethel Villalobos runs this project on a day-to-day basis.

Go to our webpage on the bee project for more information.

Please note that we conduct Locally Appropriate Bee Technology Development work, as opposed to "pure research". Some confusion seems to exist in this regard, with beekeeprs under the impression that we are doing ivory tower stuff, purely academic in nature.... We are examining varroa mite management options relevant to Hawaii conditions, focussing on non-chemical Integrated Pest Management options. This includes treatments for mite suppression and screening for resistance in local honey bees.

We also provide extension services (Locally Appropriate Bee Technology Transfer) in this regard, offerring assistance to beekeepers. We will provide workshops and training sessions for beekeepers on request, please contact us for further information.

Banana Aphid Sequential Sampling plan presentation, PowerPoint and PDF available (click a link to select a format). Click here to download the sampling plan graph.

Macadamia felted coccid: MFC infestations were detected in March 2008 in three new locations (Kau, Paauilo, near South Point). Each farm with infestations evidently received trees from the nursery at the site of the original infestation over the past three years. Biological control agents have been observed at two of these new locations. Efforts are being made to eradicate the insects from one location, and to supress the populations in the other locations. Any macadamia material being moved into an area with macadamia nut production should be carefully examined for presence of MFC.

(Erioccocus ironsidei, Eriococcidae), the most recently detected new pest on macadamia nut trees in Hawaii is currently being investigated by our lab (distribution within plantations, insecticidal/integrated management, sampling methods) and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (Distribution, biological control). To date, no infestations other than in south Kona have been detected. Preliminary results of insecticide trials have shown that Saf-T-Side(R) (insecticidal oil, labeled for macadamia in Hawaii), is effective in controlling the adult scale insects. Crawlers are not controlled by the oil; further attention will be given to other products that may improve crawler control.

Growers should remain vigilant for signs of infestations. Look out for yellowing on leaves, masses of white scale insects on trunks, and infestations on leaves. Visit the images page for an idea of how infestations look.

Surveys during February - June 2006 showed that the scale populations were actively increasing, but the most recent samples showed a high level of mortality of adult scales, and minimal numbers of crawlers. This indicates that the population remains under control. The results from 2006 counts confirm that the populations are not currently undergoing outbreaks. Continuing surveys show that populations are reasonably stable in areas with high density infestations, and are essentially inactive in terms of colony growth, in areas with low density infestations. Counts from May 2007 showed low populations and no spread.

White peach scale (Pseudaulacaspis pentagona, Hemiptera; Diaspididae) on papaya: We are surveying white peach scale infestations intensively in the Pahoa-area. A recent (and ongoing) state-wide survey (2004 - 2005) yielded no records of infestations on islands other than the big island. Papaya fruit infested with white peach scale (albeit dead) have been found in stores on O'ahu; care should be taken not to spread this insect! In 2006, an infestation on Kaui was reported.

Our surveys of biological control agents have shown that a number of ladybug species prey on the scales. Some minute aphelinid wasps have also been reared from scales. We (PBARC researchers, Rob Hollingsworth, Peter Follett and MGW) have just obtained funding to implement biological control using an imported parasitoid wasp. Permission to import the wasps to quarantine has been granted, and Rob has established a colony. A post-doctoral researcher has been appointed soon to work on this project with PBARC researchers.

Banana bunchy top virus: the Banana Action Group has finalized field identification guides to assist with detection of symptomatic plants. Jari Sugano (PEPS extension agent on O'ahu) played a lead role in developing the guides <>.

Research on aphid / plant / virus interactions is ongoing. We are tracking rate of spread of infestations in plantations. We recently submitted a paper on the phenological responses of infected banana plants, as well as a series of papers on the biology and chemical control of banana aphids to scientific journals.

The 37th ANNUAL HAWAII BANANA INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE was held in Hilo, 25 August 2006 - a series of powerpoint presentations made at the meetings can be accessed here <> The conference was arranged by Dr. Scot Nelson, <> and provided growers and others with a good overview of BBTV research.

A neat video clip on BBTV done by USDA-CSREES is now available - click here.

Jacquie Robson et al. have just published work on sampling procedures for banana aphids in the field - see publications page for the reference. An extension publication detailing the use of the sampling procedure is in prep. See above for downloads of the sampling plan.

Southern green stinkbug (Nezara viridula, Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in macadamias: We are finishing up with experimental releases of biological control agents, to try to finalize our work on augmentative releases of egg parasitoids. We have doubled the parasitoid release rate to see if that results in better dispersal and parasitism, and we are looking at the ability of the wasps to locate stink bug eggs in various types of plants. They do best in broad-leaf shrub habitats, so far.... Weedy habitat would very likeley be the best place to do mass-releases of T. basalis.

We (Mary Golden, Peter Follett & I) recently published a paper on using a dye technique to monitor stinkbug damage in macadamia nuts (see publications page). Other papers dealing with sampling and decision making for SGS management and cultivar effects have also recently been published.

Banana moth (Opogona sacchari, Lepidoptera, Tineidae) is becoming increasingly problematic on coffee in the Kona-area, evidently most serious at higher elevations. Monitoring of moths using light-traps is suggested, so that pesticide applications can be carefully planned. Also, check trunks of plants regularly for signs of infestation. A combination of Bt (Dipel) and pyrethrum spray, applied with a spreader-sticker seems to work reasonably well for control. Excellent coverage of infected trunks is essential! Virginia Smith at the CTAHR extension office in Captain Cook can assist with identification. We plan to examine the potential that insect-parasitic nematodes have for banana moth control in coffee, later in July or early August 2005. Farmers seemed impressed with the effects of the nematodes in the trials they conducted with Virginia.

Erythrina gall wasp: There is much concern about this insect, which attacks indigenous and introduced coral trees. In the short term, chemical control is being considered. Contact Dr. Arnold Hara <> for information on progress with imidacloprid trials.

Exploration in Africa for natural enemies of the Erythrina gall wasp has yielded about five species so far. These species were collected in Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa. Samples from West Africa are still being analyzed. Non-target screeing of these species is underway at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Dan Rubinoff is doing DNA sequencing to try to track down the orgin of Q. erythrinae. Amazingly, this wasp has now turned up in Florida! South America next?

Releases of the biological control agent, newly described as Eurytoma erythrinae, were made at the end of 2008. Indications to date are that the parasitoids have established.

Papaya mealybug on Big Island and Oahu: Papaya mealybug is now present on in papaya farms the Oahu windard side, and has also been seen on hybiscus in Waikiki. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture have collected parasitoids from Maui and have started to release wasps on the windward side of the island. The first releases (of a small number of wasps) were made during December. Establishment and dispersal of the wasps will be monitored. Jari Sugano has more details <>.

Paya mealybug has, of course, since made it to the Big Island, and is attacking papaya and ornamental plants. Together with Pat Conant (Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture) we have been releasing parasitic wasps in papaya growing areas. It seems to take about three months for the wasps to become well established, and to see an effect of the biological control.
Wasps are available if needed for new infestations. Please contact us if you need some, although our colony has been infested with a hyperparasite, and production is slow right now.

Nettle catterpillar on Oahu: Larvae of the nettle catterpillar (Dana pallivita) have been been found in Waihiwa and Mililani, reports Dick Tsuda (June 1, 2007).


Some useful links:
Crop Knowledge Master - information on pest management in Hawaii (currently being updated and cross-referenced to PIDDRS)
Extension entomology IPM program, IPM verification
Banana Bunchy Top Virus information - Banana Action Group
Pacific Islands Distance Diagnostics and Recommendation System - a web-based diagnostic service, with recommendation databases, images. Requires a password, you can request an account.
New pest advisories from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Hawaii Pesticide Information Retrieval System

Macadamia IPM book order form, <"macflier.pdf">.

Last update: 31 August 2011,
by Mark G. Wright