Kuldeep Kaur gives some parasitic wasps a new home on a Korora plantation, where they will attack banana-eating grubs.
Kuldeep Kaur gives some parasitic wasps a new home on a Korora plantation, where they will attack banana-eating grubs. ROB WRIGHT

Students help sting banana bug

DIPLOMA of Horticulture students at Coffs Harbour TAFE spent yesterday stapling wasps to banana leaves.

While it looked like an entertaining stroll through a well-mulched Korora banana plantation, the activity had a much more serious purpose.

Banana farmer, TAFE teacher and local produce market stallholder David Tate has been funded by the Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga Banana Growers Association to spread the tiny parasitic wasps through his plantation as part of the introduction of integrated pest management (IPM) techniques to the Coffs Coast banana industry.

The tiny wasps burrow into the grubs that spoil the appeal of growing bananas and kill them without the use of pesticides.

Mr Tate said other growers were watching the progress of the IPM work with interest, with many keen to follow his example.

The work on Mr Tate’s plantation is also likely to have a much wider impact.

The 18 students roaming about with staplers yesterday came from India’s Punjab region, with some planning to work in horticulture in India and some in Australia or other countries.



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