Opogona sacchari (Bojer): Banana moth

California Pest Rating for
Opogona sacchari (Bojer):  Banana moth
Lepidoptera:  Tineidae
Pest Rating:  C

Initiating Event:

February 26, 2014, USDA distributed a Deregulation Evaluation of Established Pests (DEEP) report proposing to change the status of Opogona sacchari, banana moth, from actionable to non-actionable for the United States.  The moth would remain actionable for the U.S. territories of the Pacific and Caribbean.  The insect is currently unrated by CDFA, so a pest rating proposal is needed to determine future direction.

History & Status:

BackgroundOpogona sacchari is a polyphagous moth that feeds primarily on bananas, pineapples, bamboo, maize, and sorghum2.  It has also been found on a wide variety of ornamentals, especially Dracaena and Yucca2.  The moth larvae are borers in stems, leaves, and petioles; however, in banana it is the fruit that is affected.  The moth is rarely intercepted in trade, perhaps due to its concealed feeding behavior.  It has the potential to be transported inside a wide array of plant propagative material.

Worldwide Distribution: Opogona sacchari is native to humid tropical and subtropical regions of Africa2.  From there it has spread to China, Japan, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Bermuda, Barbados, and Honduras.  In the United States it has been found in Florida since 1963, Hawaii since 1990, and has been collected several times in California.

Official Control: Opogona sacchari is considered a quarantine pest in Europe2 and Iran3.  The DEEP report also proposes to keep the moth actionable in the U.S. territories of the Pacific and Caribbean.

California DistributionOpogona sacchari has been collected in Carmel and Manhattan Beach.

California Interceptions:  There are records of 17 interceptions since 1987 in the PDR database.  These include 14 records associated with nurseries (including at least one infestation in an outdoor situation) and 3 others on palm plants and pineapple fruit.

The risk Opogona sacchari (Banana moth) would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction: 

1) Climate/Host Interaction: The present distribution of Opogona sacchari corresponds to USDA plant hardiness zones 8-12, corresponding to most of California. The moth is also reported to be a greenhouse pest and may establish in these environments.  Opogona sacchari receives a High(3) in this category.

Evaluate if the pest would have suitable hosts and climate to establish in California.  Score: 3

Low (1) Not likely to establish in California; or likely to establish in very limited areas.

Medium (2) may be able to establish in a larger but limited part of California.

High (3) likely to establish a widespread distribution in California.

2) Known Pest Host Range: Opogona sacchari feeds on a variety of tropical plant hosts in 24 families and has also been reported to feed on mushrooms1.  The moth receives a Medium(2) in this category.

Evaluate the host range of the pest. Score: 2

Low (1) has a very limited host range.

Medium (2) has a moderate host range.

High (3) has a wide host range.

3) Pest Dispersal Potential: Opogona sacchari has a moderate reproductive rate.  Each female lays 50-200 eggs in crevasses in plant tissue and the life cycle lasts about 3 months2.  The moth can disperse a short distance by flight, but may be transported long distances in the trade of infested plant material.  Opogona sacchari receives a Medium(2) in this category.

Evaluate the natural and artificial dispersal potential of the pest. Score: 2

Low (1) does not have high reproductive or dispersal potential.

Medium (2) has either high reproductive or dispersal potential.

High (3) has both high reproduction and dispersal potential.

4) Economic Impact: Opogona sacchari is present in California and has not been reported to lower crop yield, reduce crop value, trigger lost markets, alter cultural practices, vector organisms, injure animals, or interfere with the supply of water.  The moth receives a Low(1) in this category.

Evaluate the economic impact of the pest to California using the criteria below. Score: 1

A. The pest could lower crop yield.

B. The pest could lower crop value (includes increasing crop production costs).

C. The pest could trigger the loss of markets (includes quarantines).

D. The pest could negatively change normal cultural practices.

E. The pest can vector, or is vectored, by another pestiferous organism.

F. The organism is injurious or poisonous to agriculturally important animals.

G. The organism can interfere with the delivery or supply of water for agricultural uses.

Low (1) causes 0 or 1 of these impacts.

Medium (2) causes 2 of these impacts.

High (3) causes 3 or more of these impacts.

5) Environmental Impact: Opogona sacchari is present in California and is not known to lower biodiversity, disrupt natural communities, or change ecosystem processes.  The moth is not known to directly affect threatened or endangered species or disrupt critical habitats.  The moth is not known to have triggered treatment programs or impact cultural practices, home/urban gardening, or ornamental plantings.  Opogona sacchari receives a Low(1) in this category.

Evaluate the environmental impact of the pest on California using the criteria below.

A. The pest could have a significant environmental impact such as lowering biodiversity, disrupting natural communities, or changing ecosystem processes.

B. The pest could directly affect threatened or endangered species.

C. The pest could impact threatened or endangered species by disrupting critical habitats.

D. The pest could trigger additional official or private treatment programs.

E. The pest significantly impacts cultural practices, home/urban gardening or ornamental plantings.

Score the pest for Environmental Impact. Score: 1

Low (1) causes none of the above to occur.

Medium (2) causes one of the above to occur.

High (3) causes two or more of the above to occur.

Consequences of Introduction to California for Opogona sacchari (banana moth):  Medium(9).

Add up the total score and include it here.

Low = 5-8 points

Medium = 9-12 points

High = 13-15 points

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Opogona sacchari has been collected in Carmel and Manhattan Beach.  An outdoor population was also found in the parking lot of a nursery in Grover Beach.  Opogona sacchari receives a Medium(-2) in this category.

Evaluate the known distribution in California. Only official records identified by a taxonomic expert and supported by voucher specimens deposited in natural history collections should be considered. Pest incursions that have been eradicated, are under eradication, or have been delimited with no further detections should not be included.

Not established (0) Pest never detected in California, or known only from incursions.

Low (-1) Pest has a localized distribution in California, or is established in one suitable climate/host area (region).

Medium (-2) Pest is widespread in California but not fully established in the endangered area, or pest established in two contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

High (-3) Pest has fully established in the endangered area, or pest is reported in more than two contiguous or non-contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

Final Score:

The final score is the consequences of introduction score minus the post entry distribution and survey information score: Low(7)


It is possible that Opogona sacchari will not be able to establish as widespread of a distribution in California as predicted due to the drier climate.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Opogona sacchari is present in California and is not known to have any significant economic or environmental impacts.  A C-rating is justified.


1Culliney, T.W. 2014.  Deregulation Evaluation of Established Pests (DEEP); DEEP Report on Opogona sacchari (Bojer): Banana moth.

2European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO).  Data sheet on Opogona sacchari.  https://www.eppo.int/QUARANTINE/insects/Opogona_sacchari/OPOGSC_ds.pdf

3Cheraghian, Ahmad.  2013.  A guide for detection and diagnosis of quarantine pests:  Banana moth Opogona sacchari Bojer.  Lepidoptera:  Tineidae.  Islamic Republic of Iran Ministry of Jihad -e- Agriculture Plant Protection Organization.  http://www.ppo.ir/Uploads/English/Articles/insect/Banana-moth-Opogona-sacchari.pdf

Responsible Party:

Jason Leathers, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA, 95814, (916) 654-1211, plant.health[@]cdfa.ca.gov.

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Pest Rating:  C

Posted by ls