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  #1  
Old 10-15-2001, 09:03 PM
Sycorax Sycorax is offline
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I like bananas and usually have one for breakfast every day,sometimes on cereal, most times I'm in a hurry and just peel and eat; this morning, I peeled and ate; as I peeled it down, I noticed a bruise. Don't like mushy bananas, so I proceed to cut it out; hmmm...still bruisy and soft looking; cut some more and yikes, looked like a worm in the middle of it (I was cutting from the side since in my experience, the bruises don't go deep). I'm not sure if it was a worm or other bug - didn't see any eyes or antennae, it just looked a different color and slimey. Yuck, down the disposal it went. (Not in the mood for breakfast after that.) I guess because of the thick peel, it never occurred to me a banana could be invaded by a worm, and I didn't see any entry hole. But maybe a worm could get in through the peel and then the peel could "heal" over the entry?
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2001, 01:11 AM
Gaspode Gaspode is offline
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Could be any mumber of things, there's lots of them infest bananas. Probably just a fruit fly maggot but it could have been a genuine nematode that found its way in there when the bunch was laying on the ground.

It happens, but it's not life threatening.
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2001, 01:13 AM
Niobium Knight Niobium Knight is offline
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ewww!
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  #4  
Old 10-16-2001, 02:25 PM
BlackKnight BlackKnight is offline
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Quote:
Do bananas get worms?
Only if you don't give them the medication the vet prescribes.






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  #5  
Old 10-16-2001, 03:40 PM
UncleBill UncleBill is offline
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IANAB, but I do work with them. A worm-like critter is most likely a fruit fly larvae (depending on size). The mature fly would hit a fragrant part of the skin, such as an existing bruise, and could very well deposit a young'un. The banana will not become fragrant and soft until ripening, with is done in the region it is sold (say, within 150 miles of the store). Flies do not penetrate the skin in the Tropics, and are not attracted to green bananas. (Bananas are shipped green, and ripened locally). As far as the nematodes mentioned above, they are indeed a ground dwelling organism in the plantations, but they do NOT give a hoot about the fruit, they attack the root system (that's a cool rhyme). Banana bunches are never placed on the ground anyway, in the major companies, at least, as I'll assume the banana was from one of the big three. If you had the chance to check the poor critter's drivers license before he met his untimely demise, I'd lay dollars to doughnuts it was a local fruit fly larvae, which hit after ripening, either in transport or in the retail store.

Or (drumroll, please) in YOUR HOUSE!!!!!
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  #6  
Old 10-16-2001, 04:39 PM
Gaspode Gaspode is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by UncleBill
As far as the nematodes mentioned above, they are indeed a ground dwelling organism in the plantations, but they do NOT give a hoot about the fruit, they attack the root system.
Nematodes are the single most speciose group of multicellular organisms on the planet, living in every environment possible. There are literally millions of species that live off detritus and decaying vegetable matter. They absolutely without question do live in fruit.

Quote:
Banana bunches are never placed on the ground anyway, in the major companies, at least
How exactly is the bunch harvested in such a way that it never touches the ground? Mechanical? All the harvesting I've ever seen is manual, and this is the way it's done in most of the world AFAIK.
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2001, 05:25 PM
UncleBill UncleBill is offline
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Perhaps I should clarify, I work in the Corporate R&D Dept of a major produce company, and I took this question to our main guy who covers this type of issue. He is one of a handful in the country with enough experience I do not question his answer. Nematodes do not climb up the plant to the fruit, and the fruit does not touch the ground (in my company). Ne'er the twain do meet.

Nemotodes LOVE decaying veg matter, the bananas culled from the plant in the growth cycle to prevent mal-formed fingers serve breakfast, lunch and dinner for those guys, as do the fallen leaves, and the mother plant which is chopped after the banana stem is harvested. Then they eat the roots (root rot) of the banana plant. If we let them live.

As for the manual harvesting method: The mother plant is bent over, the agricultural bag is torn open to expose the banana stem, then the banana stem has pillows placed among the bunches to provide cushioning. Then the stem is placed on the cushioned shoulder of a harvest worker, and a second worker cuts the stem above the fruit. The stem rests on the first harvesters shoulder as he walks it over and chains it up on the cable runner system, which suspends it above the ground. The bag is returned to wrap around the stem to protect from any grease or contamination during transit to the packing station. In some instances, there is a blanket on the ground where the stem may be laid, but the product never touches the earth. At the packing station the bunches are cut from the stems (dehanding) and placed in a water bath, then the bunches are cut into hands (clustering) and placed in a second water bath. They go into washed trays, and are conveyed over the the actual packers (after thiabendazole or imazalil and sticker application, and weighing). The BOXES do not touch the ground after packing. I know the other two major companies work in a VERY similar fashion. I can set up a website with photos depicting each step of the process if desired, right now my only cite is my work experience, and I saw the process for the last time about twelve days ago.

And to further fight ignorance, the plant is an herb, and the fruit is a berry.
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  #8  
Old 10-16-2001, 05:32 PM
Mr. Cynical Mr. Cynical is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by UncleBill
IANAB, but I do work with them.
Bananas or botanists? No ambiguity here, my good man.
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  #9  
Old 10-16-2001, 05:59 PM
Gaspode Gaspode is offline
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Just wanted to make it quite clear that nematodes do in fact give a hoot about fruit and are not restricted to the roots system of the plants. WIthout knowing the life history of this peice of fruit it's quie possible it was in fact a nematode.

I think you may also be a little confused regading the number of species of nematode. The species' that cause blackhead and root lesion (ie burrrow into the roots) in bananas are obligate pathogens with a very limited lifespan without suitable hosts. They won't live on decaying vegatable matter so all the waste material in the world won't serve as breakfast, lunch or dinner. In fact one of the treatments used is to build up organic matter in the soil to reduce their numbers and ability to spread.

As for nematodes not climbing up the plant to the fruit, if the climate is damp and you can find a body of water or damp substrate more than a day old without nematodes in it (ie the water pooliing amongst the hands) then you should report your findings. You've probably discovered a new source of nematicide. Nematodes woud almost certainly be amongst the fruit on the plant, although unlikely to be the large macroscopic species that sycorax saw.

I've spent enough months as a struggling Uni student harvesting bananas to assure you I don't need to see any web pages on the subject. In this part of the world, and indeed on most of the planet, their are no overhead cables. The bunches are lugged two at a a time on yolks to the end of the row and left there until a truck comes around and picks them up. Needless to say this involves leaving the bunch on the ground for periods of time.

I'm also having a little trouble with "the banana stem has pillows placed among the bunches". Bananas only produce one bunch/stem. Perhaps you mean pillows are placed between the hands?
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  #10  
Old 10-16-2001, 06:01 PM
dave316 dave316 is offline
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I say fruit fly , want to get rid of them? here is what you do, get you a glass, fill it half way with water, fill the rest of the glass with apple cider vinegar add 4 drops of dishwashing soap
put glass where you see fruit flies or by your bananas
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  #11  
Old 10-16-2001, 07:08 PM
Sycorax Sycorax is offline
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Okay, boys, no squabbling -- I got my question answered and I thank you all. I don't care what kind of bug or worm it was -- it's simply good to know it can happen! Interesting that fruit flys don't like green bananas. I prefer green ones because they're firmer; it's all my s.o.'s fault; I got some ripe ones for him. Your responses bring to mind more banana questions: where and how in the U.S. are bananas grown? I always assumed they had to be imported from the tropics. Also, question #2 - is the banana spider a problem in the U.S.? and if so, what do you do about them? I saw on the Discovery Channel once how a banana spider's bite is the most venomous; can kill a man in a matter of minutes -- or are they only in the tropics?
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