A network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests.
PestNet is a network that helps people worldwide obtain rapid advice and information on crop protection, including the identification and management of plant pests. It started in 1999. Anyone with an interest in plant protection is welcome to join. PestNet is free and is moderated, ensuring that messages are confined to plant protection.
September 2009. A request from Palau for comments on the banana stems chewed (chopped/damaged) in the middle until the stem broke. The bananas are a cooking (plantain) variety; they are immature plants about 5-6 m tall. The damage is about 1.5 m above the ground, and there are no footprints on the ground around the banana plants.
The damage was done the previous night, and whatever it was, it was trying to get the starchy core. The outer layers of the pseudostem are shredded. The owner said that this has happened before, but only occasionally. Before the damage was done to plantains, and never to the sweeter varieties of bananas.
Could this be cockatoo damage?
There were lots of suggestions (guesses): rats, pigs, goats, horses, monkeys (there are monkeys in Palau, but only on Ngeaur or Angaur), bush knife damage.
Palau said that they did consider monkeys, but there are nearly mature tapioca (cassava) and sweet potato all around the banana plants, which would be much less work for the monkeys, and they are known to dig these up on Angaur. It does not seem likely that they would chew into a banana stalk this way when there are easier sources of food. The same is true for pigs. Also, there would surely be tracks if it had been pigs, and there were none in the soft and muddy soil around the banana plants, which is another reason that birds are suspected – and the only birds big and strong enough to do this would be cockatoos.