LA TRINIDAD, The Philippines – For his undergraduate thesis, Jimmer John Bisaya, who was then majoring in Entomology at Benguet State University (BSU), built and studied a lure trap for coffee berry borers (CBBs) – one-millimeter long pests that reduce harvest.
Bisaya, with adviser Dr Bonnie Ligat, conducted the study titled, “Pre-emptive Management Approach of Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemushampei Ferrari) in Arabica Coffee (Coffea arabica Linnaeus) in Atok, Benguet” at the one-hectare coffee plantation of the Atiw and Mayos families in Sayet.
“CBBs penetrate coffee beans, lay their eggs inside to cause the coffee berries to dry, turn black, and eventually fall. There is infestation in Sayet, Caliking, Atok, and even in Longlong, La Trinidad,” he explained in Ilocano.
Since the coffee at the plantation was grown organically, pesticides were out of the question and considered impractical.
“CBBs are small so spraying would only risk getting the coffee berries contaminated, all while failing to reach the CBBs because they are inside the coffee berries. It will only be a waste of pesticide and an additional cost for the farmers,” Bisaya said.
CBBs are active all throughout the year. Thus, Bisaya emphasized the importance of sanitation. He explained that the pests continue living in the fallen coffee berries and in host plants, waiting for new plants to emerge. Getting rid of CBB-infested beans immediately will greatly reduce the chances of re-infestation.
The lure traps, on the other hand, will take care of any remaining CBBs after the infested beans have been cleared and taken away. The lure trap Bisaya built was based on a design published by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The Hawaiian design utilizes a 2-liter capacity plastic bottle, lure bottle, galvanized wire, methanol, ethanol, and soapy water.