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Coffee Berry Borer Confirmed on Lanai

The coffee berry borer was confirmed in wild coffee on Lānaʻi in August 2020. This was the first detection on the island of CBB which is one of the most devastating pest of coffee plants. CBB has been established on Hawai`i Island, Maui and O`ahu for several years and was also detected on Kaua`i earlier this month.

Between July 17-31, 2020, adult beetles were trapped in a forested area during a bark beetle survey in the Lāna‘ihale, Munro Trail area by Dr. Conrad P.D.T. Gillett and David Honsberger with the University of Hawai`i, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH-CTAHR). On August 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 Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) 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 Hawai`i 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 Ka`u in May 2011. It was found on O`ahu in December 2014, on Maui in December 2016, and on Kaua`i in September 2020. It is still unknown how CBB first made its way to Hawai`i 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 Hawai`i, 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. Hawai`i 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 Hawai`i.

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.

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