When is "Frog Season" for banana box frogs?

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Sarina
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When is "Frog Season" for banana box frogs?

Postby Sarina » Tue Oct 07, 2003 6:56 pm

People keep talking about the frogs only coming in a certain season.

When is this "frog season"?

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Postby FDR Project » Sun Jun 11, 2006 6:57 pm

Sarina,

Banana box season is indeed what is dry season spring up here in FNQ. After about August, the temps start getting really hot and the sun becomes much stronger but the dry has been going since about May so there is not much water about. The banana crops are watered from overhead so their wrapping leaves provide a great place for frogs to gather: water, bugs and shelter in the one place. By the time the wet gets going (used to be Nov/Dec but has shifted to Jan/Feb, then the frogs move out of the bananas for breeding.

Numbers of frogs making it south have catapulted in recent years and I believe the reason why is what we call the "respiratory disease" which turned up in 2002 (see our website for a description www.fdrproject.org.au) - this disease is widespread and put quite a dent in the population of frogs and toads up here. I don't think the southern states will ever again see the large numbers of frogs that used to arrive. There are jsut too many diseases gradually wiping out frogs up here.

Cheers,
Deborah
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Postby Edgee » Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:47 am

I work in the fruit market here in Sydney and another contributing factor in the decline, according to the banana marketers, is the ever growing popularity of packing sheds.
For those who don't know what I'm talking about, put simply, in the good old days, growers used to pick, pack and eveything in between.
Nowadays, there are large packing sheds that take the produce from many growers and they handle the packing and marketing of the product, in most cases.
Apparently, because of the double handling of the produce, there is an infinitely larger chance that the frogs will escape before packing.
Add on to that the relatively stringent Quality Assurance regimes adopted by these packing sheds and it is a bit of a suprise that anything gets in the boxes at all.

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Postby FDR Project » Tue Jun 13, 2006 12:27 pm

Thanks for the input, Edgee. Sounds like the marketers are using some poetic licence to promote their product!

One of our members used to work for 15 years in one of those multi-farm packing sheds (he recently took a normal job) and he reports the opposite situation to what the marketers are telling you. The quality control concerns the bruise-avoidance and washing of the fruit only. Workers in these sheds are paid by the box so speed is of the essence - they have no time at all to look to see if anything is on those bananas. The handling disturbance and the multiple chemical overhead washes (on conveyor belts) that the hands are put through makes the frogs squeeze their way up higher in between the hands rather than trying to escape. Since the bananas are green when they are processed, a little green frog is seen by no-one working in such a high paced job.

I've visited another banana farmer who uses the opposite processing technique to the overhead washes and that is the vat bath. The hands are dumped into a trench sort of thing and the frogs willingly vacate once the hands go underwater. This method removes nearly all the frogs (and some other things that hide in the fruit) with no intervention by handlers at all but only some individual farms use it. I think the red-tipped bananas also use the vat method. The big packing sheds won't convert over to the bath method unless the govt is going to pay for it as it will cost millions to do, apparently.

It was really great to have a member in this industry who could fill us in from the inside as to what actually happens in the processing of bananas! It explained a real lot.

Cheers,
Deborah
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Edgee
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Postby Edgee » Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:12 am

And here I was thinking that the money that all of us, the marketers and the packers, pay to these quality assurance groups was actually helping to create a better/safer product for the consumer.
One of the reasons they gave for the introduction of it all was to avoid situations like that of Top Taste, which you probably would have heard about in the news recently.
Not that any of this stuff matters with the lack of bananas that will be around until roughly November anyway.
I'd say that this years banana box frog collections may be dismal at best.
Cheers for the extra info as our company deals in fruit,of just about any sort, but not bananas.(We have a whole shed dedicated to the sale of bananas in Sydney)

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Postby NiHiL » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:41 pm

banana box frogs? :oops: :?:

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soapy vats

Postby Gerry Marantelli » Fri Jul 14, 2006 4:44 pm

When I visited one of the first big packing sheds 1998 i was told they packed 70% of all bananas from the innisfail district (a big chunk of australia's bananas) they had conveyor belts going though vats of soapy water and nearly all the frogs were coming out. I was led to believe this was the process to be employed in all the developing big packing sheds - and I was satisfied that this was one reason for the dropping numbers of BBFs.

Deb - do you actually know how many sheds employ this and other techniques and what proportion of bananas they pack?
Also for bulk packing without vats - do you have any photos?


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