Tuesday 31 January 2023

HAWAII – Coffee berry borer detected on Oahu coffee farm

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HONOLULU, Hawaii, US – The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has confirmed the presence of the coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) (CBB) on coffee farms owned by Dole Foods in Waialua, Oahu.

Personnel from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service – Daniel K. Inouye Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (USDA-ARS-PBARC) discovered the CBB in Waialua while conducting a study on the flowering of coffee through a grant from HDOA.

Until now, the pest was only found on Hawaii Island.

Suspected samples of CBB were turned into HDOA on Dec. 4 and a confirmation was made that day by HDOA entomologists. On Dec. 5, a 30-member joint crew made up of personnel from USDA-ARS-PBARC, HDOA, the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and Dole began to survey Dole’s two Waialua coffee fields which total 155 acres.

CBB was found to be established and distributed throughout the area in varying densities. Based upon this information, HDOA will not be conducting an eradication project but will work with Dole Foods to contain the CBB. HDOA will also be revising the quarantine zones for CBB.

“We are very concerned with this recent find of coffee berry borer on Oahu,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.

“We are committed to determining the extent of the infestation and working with the industry and partners in containing and controlling the infestation and determining the source of the infestation.”

“It’s devastating for any farmer when a serious pest like the coffee berry borer hits their farm,” said Neil Reimer, PhD, administrator of HDOA’s Plant Industry Division. “We appreciate the swift cooperation from Dole Foods and also their concern and support in containing this infestation as soon as possible.”

One of the most devastating coffee pests, CBB was first detected in the state in Sept. 2010 in Kona and discovered in Ka`u in May 2011. 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 Kona, Big Island 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 infestations down to about 20 percent of the coffee crop.

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