Sunday, 29 August 2010

Having Trouble with your gingers?

If your ginger plants a starting to die, this may be the cause. The caterpillar of a local moth, a pyraustine crambid, Conogethes pluto (Butler), bores into the stems and feeds up the centre causing the stem eventually to die. This species is common in north Queensland and also occurs in Thailand. My friend, Suzanne, has had trouble with these caterpillars for a few months and they are devastating her collection.

Other species of Conogethes, C. punctiferalis, for example, are known pests. C. punctiferalis defoliates Hibiscus and other related plants by feeding on the leaves and rolling the leaves to accommodate the cocoons. It attacks foliage and seeds of many plants. Hibiscus plants survive and eventually grow new leaves but they look very untidy when they are under attack.

The caterpillar of Conogethes pluto in its burrow in the centre of a ginger stem.
The adult moth, Conogethes pluto.

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