The banana plant—widely known for its tasty fruits—is an herbaceous plant and commonly grown in residential and commercial gardens. Bananas are highly nutritious, rich in B6, ascorbic acid and many other mineral ions, most notably the potassium ions. The banana plant is, however, vulnerable to a litany of infestations by pests. These pests cause untold damage to the plant, greatly reducing its yields.
Nematodes, popularly known as roundworms, are of two types: burrowing and spiral. Both types attack the roots, causing great damage. The roots become prone to pathogens once they have been attacked by these nematodes. Ensure you purchase banana plants that have nematode-free roots to control these pests.
Banana aphids attack a variety of tropical plants, but bananas are the most susceptible. This pest is fairly small, about 1/12 of an inch. They move in colonies, clinging to the banana plant and feeding on the plant’s tissue. These aphids may endanger the life of the plant, and damaged tissues are more prone to attacks by other diseases. A banana plant that has been attacked by these aphids usually has shriveled and curled leaves. Experts on plant disease recommend introducing natural enemies of the banana aphid, such as ladybugs.
Banana weevils are popularly known as banana borers. As this name suggests, they attack the plant by boring through the stem and causing untold damage to the plant tissues. Acute infestations by banana weevils usually lead to weakening of the plant and ultimately its death. Remove plants that have been attacked by banana weevils from the garden to prevent the pests from spreading.
"Banana spiders" are any of several kinds of arachnids, namely the Nephila clavipes of North America and the Phoneutria genus of spiders from South America. These spiders hide in the banana bunches and damage the fruits by sucking their juices. Their bites are also dangerous to human beings.
Kendal Elizabeth has been a professional writer and editor since 2001. She has specialized in writing pet-related topics, home decor and gardening. Her work has appeared on several online and offline publication. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science with a minor in marine biology from Cornell University.