Banana disease continues to spread on Hawaii's Big Island - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Banana disease continues to spread on Hawaii's Big Island

Hawaii Island Hawaii Island

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Farmers on Hawaii's Big Island are worried after a disease affecting banana plants was found north of Hilo despite a quarantine effort.

Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the banana bunchy top virus, which stunts the growth of banana plants and deforms their fruit, was first found on Oahu in 1989 and arrived in Kailua-Kona the next decade.

But the disease is spreading, and farmers are now worried it could end up in the deep gulches of Hamakua Coast. That would make it difficult to contain.

Department of Agriculture noxious weed specialist Kamran Fujimoto says the disease has become more prevalent in Hilo over the last few years.

The remedy is to spray plants with insecticide to kill the disease-spreading aphids and then destroy the plant, but that only limits the damage.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly