The Banyan Tussock Moth (Perina nuda) is a leaf eating insect that generally targets Ficus trees (banyan trees) in Hong Kong. This insect is especially active in Hong Kong Island and has at least 2 life cycles per year.

The caterpillar (larvae) of this moth has hairs all over its body that are actually harmful to people. If the hairs make any contact with skin, they cause an allergic reaction, presented as itchy painful red bumps. This can occur not only from direct contact but also if the hairs fall from the tree onto a person’s skin. Because of this, it is recommended to take caution if this insect is identified in your trees and to seek immediate professional assistance for controlling the insect population by treatment.

Hong Kong Distribution

High population in Hong Kong, but also present throughout the New Territories and Kowloon

Active Period in Hong Kong

Recorded primarily during the dry season from late September to mid-June, peaks occur in mid-October, late November, late December, mid February and mid April.

Host

Larvae are found on the leaves of Ficus microcarpa (Banyan Trees), Ficus benjamina and Ficus rumphii. Larvae and the pupae of this species were particularly common on the leaves of Ficus microcarpa.

www.inaturalist.org/taxa/196983-Perina-nuda

This photo is an example of the cocoon stage of the insect, just prior to adult.

Treatment

We have two methods of treatment for this insect problem, specifically soil injection or trunk injection of a specific insecticide and our treatment has a 95-100% success rate. We do not use spray application because this is a very uncontrolled method of insecticide application and is does not give consistent results.

If you suspect trees on your property might be affected by this insect, contact us right away for a free estimate. [email protected]

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