Abstract The banana aphid, Pentalonia nigronervosa Coquerel (Hemiptera: Aphididae), infests banana (Musa spp.) worldwide. Pentalonia nigronervosa is the vector of Banana bunchy top virus (family Nanoviridae, genus Babuvirus) the etiological agent of Banana bunchy top disease (BBTD). BBTD is currently the most serious problem affecting banana in Hawaii. Despite the importance of this vector species, little is known about its biology or ecology. There are also no sampling plans available for P. nigronervosa. We conducted field surveys to develop a sampling plan for this pest. Ten plots were surveyed on seven commercial banana farms on the island of Oahu, HI, for the presence of P. nigronervosa on banana plantlets. We found aphids more frequently near the base of plants, followed by the newest unfurled leaf at the top of the plant. Aphids were least likely to be located on leaves in between the top and bottom of the plant. Aphid infestation on surveyed plots ranged from 8 to 95%. We developed a sequential binomial sampling plan based on our surveys. We also discovered that the within-plant distribution of P. nigronervosa is an important factor to consider when sampling for this pest. Our sampling plan will assist in the development of sustainable management practices for banana production.