Pest threat found on imported bananas
Introduced pests posing a potentially serious threat to Bermuda’s bananas and other crops were found this week in a load of the fruit imported by United States suppliers.
The tainted batch containing the scale and mealybug pests was spotted on Tuesday in a load of Dole bananas that originated in South and Central America. A check at distributors and stores found all imported bananas infested with scale, mealybug or both, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.
Contaminated fruit was pulled from shelves, but mealybug levels were “alarmingly high” and posed “a serious risk” to local bananas, crops and ornamental plants. Also of concern was the scale infestation. Both pests feed on the sap of plants, as well as spreading plant viruses, and are difficult to tackle with pesticides.
Anyone who has recently bought imported bananas should dispose of skins straight into garbage bags for trash collection.
Composting or recycling poses an environmental threat.
The establishment of these pests would require increased pesticide use on local crops.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has contacted the US Department of Agriculture and the US suppliers of the bananas. US authorities are requesting stricter pre-export inspections to avoid a recurrence.
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