Banana – Bee Damage to Flowers

Q: I have banana trees, the large type, in Eatonton. They are in a sunny protected place on the side of our house. This year we had a crop of more than 200 bananas off 3 trees. Needless to say we ate a lot of banana bread.

We cut the leaves off at frost ,but leave the stalks pretty high. In the late spring they start putting out again.

Each year I have very good bananas, but after the cone starts to open, I have a problem with bees cutting the small banana blossoms off to suck the sap.

Do you know anything to prevent this?

A: Banana flowers have lots of nectar so it’s natural that insects would love to get at it. My guess is that your bana flowers are being damaged by carpenter bees. These insects are well-known to slit the sides of blueberry flowers to get at the nectar – but this prevents honeybees from pollinating the blueberry.

The only suggestion I have is to apply carbaryl (Sevin) to the flowers when carpenter bees are active. Bananas develop fruit without pollination so you won’t prevent pollination-based fruiting.

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