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Coffee berry borer

Preferred Scientific Name: Hypothenemus hampei

The coffee berry borer is a scolytid beetle which has become an invasive pest in almost all coffee-growing countries. Transportation of infected coffee seeds has been suggested as the cause of a worldwide spread of the invasive. The beetles bore through the coffee berry at fruiting stage, causing the berries to rot and turn black.

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Why is it a problem?

The coffee berry borer is the most serious pest of coffee in many of the major production countries. The beetle feeds on coffee plants and has been known to attack 100% of berries. Crop losses can be very severe and coffee quality from damaged berries is poor, making it harder to sell them at market.

Impacts

  • Reduces coffee yield
  • Lower quality berries
  • Reduces native biodiversity
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods

What’s the solution?

Manual control

By picking all of the berries, rather than the berries that the famers pick for harvest, an infestation can be prevented. In areas where berries were not left to fall to the ground and rot, risk of Coffee berry borer invasion was significantly less likely. 

Biological control

Intensive efforts have been made over the last 20 years to find a biocontrol option for coffee berry borer; however all of these attempts have come back with disappointing results. Wasps such as Phymastichus coffea and Heterospilus coffeicola have been indentified as some of the more promising biocontrol options, as they target the adult beetle, whereas other agents only tackle the pest at its larval or egg stage.

Fact file

Name Coffee berry borer

Distribution

Asia, Africa, Americas, Oceania & Europe

For more information on distribution, view the full datasheet available here

Habitat

Forests 

Natural enemies

Two wasps, Phymastichus coffea and Heterospilus coffeicola, are natural enemies that have been favoured as biocontrol options. It has been shown that both have difficulty establishing. 

Invasiveness

Very few coffee-producing countries are free of the insect

Likelihood of entry

Introduced by trade pathways 

Climate

Tropical

Further reading

Visit our online resource of research and full text articles and journals
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