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Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

The Coffee Berry Borer Is in Hawai‘i; How Can We Manage It?

Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) Hypothenemus hampei

Fig. 1. Dorsal view of an adult coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei

Fig. 1. Dorsal view of an adult coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei

The coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) (Ferrari) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae), called broca in Spanish, is a bark beetle endemic to Central Africa that is now distributed throughout all coffee-producing countries in the world, with the exception of Nepal and Papua New Guinea. CBB (Fig. 1) is the most economically important coffee pest worldwide (Le Pelley 1968, Vega 2008). Beetles of the subfamily Scolytinae are among the most damaging insects in the world: Their life cycle inside the host plant makes these insects difficult to control (Rudinsky 1962).







Presence of the coffee berry borer in Hawai‘i

In August 2010, the coffee berry borer was found in South Kona, Island of Hawai‘i, and its identity was confirmed by Dr. Natalia J. Vandenberg (Systematic Entomology Laboratory, USDA-ARS). The infestation in South Kona extends from north of Kainaliu to south of ‘Opihihale (Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture 2010)(Fig.2), which indicates that the insect has been present in the island for some time. The insect has not yet been found on any other island. 

Fig. 2. Distribution of the coffee berry borer in the district of Kona, Island of Hawai’i Hawai‘i, in October 2010. Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.
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Fig. 2. Distribution of the coffee berry borer in the district of Kona, Island of Hawai’i Hawai‘i, in May 2011. Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Go here for the most current information on CBB infestation in Hawaii.



Damage

Fig. 3. Coffee berry with two holes made by coffee berry borer

Fig. 3. Coffee berry with two holes made by coffee berry borer

The coffee berry borer female (1.4-1.78 mm) attacks immature and mature coffee berries from about eight weeks after flowering up to harvest season (>32 weeks). Females bore a hole into the coffee berry (Fig. 3) and then construct galleries in the seeds (beans) where the eggs are deposited, followed by larval feeding on the coffee seed (Bustillo et al. 1998, Barrera 2008) (Fig. 4). Three types of damage have been reported: 1) premature fall of young berries, 2) increased vulnerability of infested ripe berries to fungus or bacterial infection, and 3) reduction in both yield and quality of coffee, reducing the income of coffee growers (Damon 2000, Jaramillo et al. 2006). The coffee berry borer can cause yield losses of 30-35% with 100% of berries infested at harvest time. Damage may be greater if harvest is delayed (Barrera 2008).

Fig. 4. Coffee berry borer galleries containing eggs (left), and eggs and larvae (right)

Fig. 4. Coffee berry borer galleries containing eggs (left), and eggs and larvae (right)



Biology

Fig. 5. Life cycle of Hypothenemus hampei. Photo by Bustillo et al. 1998. CENICAFÉE, Colombia.

Fig. 5. Life cycle of Hypothenemus hampei.

The colonizing female bores a hole in the coffee berry and makes galleries in the seed where she lays the eggs. The life stages are egg, larva, pupa, and adult, and all are found inside the seed. The female lays 2 to 3 eggs per day for a period of 20 days. Both the colonizing female and larvae make galleries in the seed, where they also feed. The founder female remains inside the fruit after oviposition until she dies, taking care of the offspring. There is sibling mating among the adult progeny with a 10:1 sex ratio favoring females; therefore, when the new adult females emerge, they are already inseminated and ready to attack another berry, in which they continue the cycle. Male CBB do not fly and remain inside the berry. Most of the life cycle occurs inside the berry and varies according to the temperature: 21 days at 80°F (27°C), 32 days at 72°F (22°C) and 63 days at 67°F (19.2°C) (Fig. 5). Females can live 157 days, and males may live for 20 to 87 days at 76°F (24.5°C) (Bustillo et al. 1998, Damon 2002, Jaramillo et al. 2006, Barrera 2008, Vega 2008, Vega et al. 2009).

Fig 6. Coffee berries on the ground are a source of reproduction for the coffee berry borer (A-left), ); old berries can harbor hundreds of coffee berry borers (B-right). Photos: Bustillo et al. 1998. Manejo integrado de la broca del café, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) en Colombia. CENICAFÉE.

Fig 6. Coffee berries on the ground are a source of reproduction for the coffee berry borer (A-left), ); old berries can harbor hundreds of coffee berry borers (B-right). Photos: Bustillo et al. 1998. Manejo integrado de la broca del café, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) en Colombia. CENICAFÉE.



Hosts

The coffee berry borer has been reported from plants other than coffee. This beetle can survive in several other host plants, and has even been reported to reproduce in some of them (Damon 2000); but it is not clear how much reproduction can actually occur outside of coffee, the beetle's primary host. Some of these possible alternate host plants occur in Hawaii, including haole koa (Leucaena leucocephala), black wattle (Acacia decurrens), and red fruit passion flower or love-in-a-mist (Passiflora foetida). However, researchers in Hawaii have to date found only a very low incidence of coffee berry borer in any of these other plants, and feel that wild (uncultivated) coffee plants are a much more serious reservoir beetle populations..

Possible alternate host plants of coffee berry borerpdf



Where can we find the coffee berry borer?

Infestation occurs in berries on the tree, and reproduction continues in berries even if they have fallen to the ground (Fig. 6) and in parchment coffee, provided that moisture content does not fall below 13.5% (Damon 2000). Between harvest seasons, females remain inactive in old berries on the tree or ground waiting for the first rains, which stimulate them to emerge and search for new berries in which to begin the next cycle. Coffee berry borers develop faster on the ground due to less extreme temperatures (Baker et al. 1992). Up to 150 coffee berry borers can be found in a single berry between seasons (Brocarta No. 3, 1993).



What can we do about it? Recommendations

The recommendations below relate only to cultural control in the field and in wet and dry mills. The fungus Beauveria bassiana has also recently been approved for use in Hawaii as the products BotaniGard ES and Mycotrol O. Please refer to their product labels for application instructions. Additional information on the use of B. bassiana has also been made available by BioWorks Inc., and by the Kona Coffee Farmers Association. The insecticide Provado (imidacloprid) is used in coffee for control of green scale, but is not recommended here, as it has not been evaluated nor labeled for use against coffee berry borer.

Select qualified personnel
Every farm should have at least one person who can learn the basic facts about the coffee berry borer, assess the infestation levels, and carry out the management techniques as they become available.

It is important that pickers and farmers understand that much of the control of the coffee berry borer depends upon an Integrated Management Program (IPM). In Hawai‘i, sanitation in the field and in the wet and dry mills is important to reduce the spread of CBB.


Manage the coffee berry borer based on the annual stages of coffee production

Pruning season
December through February is the pruning season for most farms in Kona. There are two types of pruning: the Kona style, which prunes one or two verticals each year, and the Beaumont-Fukunaga style, in which all the verticals on the tree are pruned in the same year every three to five years (Bittenbender and Easton Smith 1999). Before pruning begins, remove any remaining berries on the trees before they fall on the ground during pruning.

Research in Colombia has found as many as 3.2 million coffee berry borers per acre (including immature stages and adults) in berries that were not removed before pruning. Reproduction continued after three months of being on the ground. Seventy days after pruning, approximately 80% of the coffee berry borers emerged from the fallen berries, and emergence continued for at least another 80 days (Bustillo et al. 1998).

The coffee berry borer continues breeding in out-of-season berries when the seed is soft (Damon 2000). This means that inseminated females are constantly leaving and seeking berries in neighboring coffee farms (Castaño et al. 2005).

  • Pruning should be done after harvest.
  • Before pruning, remove all the remaining berries, including immature out-of-season berries, raisins (cherries dried on the tree) and drops (fallen berries).
  • Use rubber or leather gloves so as not to damage your skin when stripping leftover berries from the tree.
  • Berries should be destroyed by burying in the soil 18 inches deep or by burning.
  • Set baited traps in the pruned fields where the coffee berry borers are emerging from the berries.



Flowering season and fruit development:
There are several peak coffee-flowering periods in Kona, depending on elevation. At 1,200 to 1,700 ft, where the majority of the coffee in Kona is grown, there are three or more major flowering periods and several minor ones per year. At higher elevations (2,000 to 2,500 ft), there are two or three substantial flowerings, in February, March, and April, plus minor flowerings at almost any time of the year. At lower elevations, flowerings tend to occur only in February through March. Coffee has a prolonged and variable fruiting season, berry growth is slow, and all berries do not ripen simultaneously (Bittenbender and Easton Smith 1999).

  • Baited traps can be installed at a rate of 8 per acre and be suspended from the coffee tree at a height of 5 feet (1.5 m).
  • The attractant or lure is a 3:1 mix of methanol and ethanol (Dufour and Frérot 2008). See How to Make a Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) Trap).
  • Use soapy water to kill the insects in the traps.
  • Check and clean the traps weekly and add new soapy water.

Baited traps do not guarantee the removal of the coffee berry borer from the field; however, they do indicate the presence of the beetle in the field.



Harvesting season:

  • During the harvesting season, it is important to supervise and emphasize the importance of efficient harvesting, removing all ripe and dropped fruit.
  • The coffee berry bags should be made from synthetic fiber instead of the burlap that is more commonly used. Bags should be tied shut at harvest to avoid the escape and dispersal of CBB.
  • These sacks should not be left all day in the coffee plantation; they should be carried to the wet mill as soon as possible.
  • Set up baited traps in the wet mill area.
  • The drainage of the wet mill should have a mesh to capture CBB adults emerging from the fruits.
  • Drying decks with permanent plastic roofs should have the normally open ends covered with fineto prevent the escape of coffee berry borers. Put a trap at each end of the drying deck.



After harvesting season

  • A management program for coffee berry borer starts with harvesting all raisins and dropped berries. These should be burned or buried as outlined above.
  • Once the harvesting of mature fruits is done, monitor out-of-season infestations with traps and observations in each field.