Maui News

Coffee Berry Borer Pest Confirmed on Lāna‘i

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Coffee Berry Borer. PC: Hawai`i Department of Agriculture


The coffee berry borer or CBB pest is confirmed in wild coffee on Lānaʻi.  The discovery was made in August 2020, and marks the first detection on the island of CBB, which agricultural officials call “one of the most devastating pest of coffee plants.”

CBB has been established on Hawaiʻi Island, Maui and Oʻahu for several years and was also detected on Kauaʻi earlier this month.

  • Between July 17-31, 2020, adult beetles were trapped in a forested area during a bark beetle survey in the Lānaʻihale, Munro Trail area by Dr. Conrad P.D.T. Gillett and David Honsberger with the University of Hawaiʻi, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH-CTAHR).
  • On Aug. 6, 2020, beetles and infested berries were hand-collected from wild coffee plants in the Kapano Gulch area by Pūlama Lānaʻi staff.

Samples from both of these collections were forwarded to the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control Branch in Honolulu where an entomologist confirmed them as CBB. HDOA will initiate a survey to assess the extent of the infestation.


“It is unknown at this time how the beetle got to wild coffee plants on Lānaʻi,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaiʻi Board of Agriculture. “We appreciate the assistance of the multiple agencies that are helping us to determine the extent of this infestation and how CBB may have been introduced to the island.”

CBB was first detected in the state in September 2010 in Kona and discovered in Kāʻū in May 2011. It was found on Oʻahu in December 2014, on Maui in December 2016, and on Kauaʻi in September 2020. It is still unknown how CBB first made its way to Hawaiʻi Island and how it has spread to other islands.

This small beetle bores into the coffee “cherry” to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. Since its detection in Hawaiʻi, coffee growers have developed methods to manage the pest, which include using an organic pesticide and field sanitation. Some farms with good management practices have been able to keep infestation levels down significantly.


CBB, Hypothenemus hampei, is native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee-growing regions of the world, including Central and South America. Hawaiʻi has strict importation rules requiring all imported green coffee beans for roasting and associated packing materials be fumigated prior to entering the State to ensure beans are free of pathogens and insect pests. These rules also subject coffee plants and propagative plant parts to strict quarantine requirements if imported to Hawaiʻi.

In addition, by rule, HDOA requires a permit issued by Plant Quarantine prior to transporting unroasted coffee beans, coffee plants and plant parts, used coffee bags and coffee harvesting equipment moving from an infested island to other islands within the state. The rule also requires inspection by HDOA Plant Quarantine inspectors, mitigation measures, and certain treatments prior to shipping. Inspectors will either attach a tag, label or stamp to indicate the shipment complies with all necessary requirements. For unroasted coffee beans, acceptable treatment protocols include fumigation, freezing and heat treatment.

To report possible CBB infestations on Lānaʻi, call HDOA’s Plant Pest Control Branch at (808) 973-9525.

Coffee Berry Borer. PC: Hawai`i Department of Agriculture

Coffee Berry Borer. PC: Hawai`i Department of Agriculture

Coffee Berry Borer. PC: Hawai`i Department of Agriculture

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Scroll Down for Comments


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments