Bittenbender Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2010 5:35 PM
Subject: Coffee cherry in Kona under attack
Coffee Leaders and Coffee Colleagues,
This is a update on a serious
situation in Kona.
We have had 3 reports from Kainaliu to south of
Honaunau that coffee cherry is being infested with beetles. Two samples
reviewed to date indicate that it is a species of Hypothenemus. Hawaii has
several species of Hypothenemus including the Tropical Nut Borer (TNB) .
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture received samples from Ms. Elsie Burbano,
PhD student PEPS, who made the preliminary ID. DOA following state and federal
guidelines is sending the samples to the USDA Systematics Entomology Lab near
Washington for official ID.
Note entry holes at blossom end and on side.- The
beetle (greatly enlarged).
We suspect that it is either the TNB
that has expanded its host range to coffee perhaps due to a change in its
environment or worse that it is the Coffee Berry Borer.
DOA will inform us of the
What can farmers do?
Several products containing imidacloprid have been
registered for coffee - Provado is the foliar formulation. This might reduce
the population in the coffee cherries but won't help coffee already infested.
Once pulped the infested coffee produces floaters which will contain living
adults, eggs and larvae. This material should be destroyed so as not to
increase the population on the farm. Running it through a chipper /shredder
might kill the insect but then it should be composted, frozen, steamed or
roasted. If trees are heavily infested the grower maybe decide not to
harvest. In that case consider stumping the trees and chipping and composting
the trees cherries to destroy the insect. Leaving the cherry on the tree or
letting cherry drop to the ground will only increase the number of
beetles. Do not ship cherry coffee out of Kona.
Once the species is determined then a longer term
approach will be developed in collaboration with coffee industry, CTAHR,
HDOA and USDA.
If this problem is caused by a new invasive species
in Hawaii, how did it get here?
USDA has done extensive research on quarantine issues for coffee imports. All
imported green coffee entering Hawaii is fumigated but more
importantly we've learned that dried green coffee beans is not attacked by the
coffee berry borer probably because its too dry. The Coffee Berry Borer is not
a stored product pest, it attacks immature cherry on the trees. Its more likely
that someone who came from an area with the coffee berry borer - a tourist, a
returning coffee farmer, or a migratory coffee picker- had an infested cherry
or parchment bean lodged in their clothing or luggage.
there any promising research on controlling coffee berry borer?
at least one fungus is being used to control the borer and a thrip Karnyothrips
flavipes was identified that feeds on the berry borer eggs and larvae. (J
Jaramillo et al., 'Molecular diagnosis of a previously unreported predator-prey
association in coffee: Karnyothrips flavipes Jones (Thysanoptera:
Phlaeothripidae) predation on the coffee berry borer'), Naturwissenshaften; doi
"Skip" Bittenbender, Ph.D.
Specialist for Coffee, Kava and Cacao
Plant and Soil Sciences
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
of Hawaii at Manoa
location is 112 St. John Hall
Farmer's Bookshelf www.CTAHR.Hawaii.edu/fb/