Coffee Berry Borer detected in Pahala on Big Island

May 12, 2011, 7:30 AM HST · Updated May 12, 7:30 AM
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Coffee Berry Borer infestation map of the Big Island. Click image to view in detail. Image courtesy, Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

The Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has confirmed the detection of a coffee berry borer (CBB) infestation at a single farm in Pahala in the Ka`u District of the Big Island. Ka`u is a major coffee-growing area and surveys are currently being conducted in the area to determine the extent of the infestation.

The CBB (Hypothenemus hampei), was first confirmed on farms in the Kona area of the Big Island in September 2010.  It is already widely established on the west side of the island. This is the first detection of a CBB infestation on a farm in Ka`u.

Staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural have been working with Kona coffee farmers to try to control infestations by using an insect-killing fungus as well as implementing field sanitation practices.

The CBB is a native of Central Africa. The pest bores into the coffee berry to lay its eggs. Agricultural officials say the larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. Because the larvae are inside the bean, Ag authorities say it makes it difficult to control the CBB with pesticides.

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Coffee growers in Ka`u are asked to inspect their fields and report any suspected infestations to the HDOA as soon as possible to the Hilo office at (808) 974-4146.

*** Supporting information courtesy Hawai’i Department of Agriculture; Posted by Wendy Osher.

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