Organic options abound against coffee berry borer

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Lorraine asks: I have not sprayed my coffee plants against the coffee berry borer this year because I want to use an organic product and have heard none was available. Is this true?


Lorraine asks: I have not sprayed my coffee plants against the coffee berry borer this year because I want to use an organic product and have heard none was available. Is this true?

Tropical Gardener answer: Mycotrol is an organic product containing the naturally occurring fungus Beauveria bassiana that has been used against the coffee berry borer. It was taken off the market at the end of last year because one of the ingredients was not organically certified. This problem has been remedied and Mycotrol is available again. For now, only the wettable powder is available locally at both Al’s Home &Farm Supply and Farm &Garden. This formulation is almost $100 per pound. Depending on the infestation, as little as one half pound up to two pounds can be mixed with 100 gallons of water to spray your trees.

Another organic alternative that is effective in conjunction with Mycotrol or by itself is kaolin clay. It is widely available locally as Surround ® WP. When applied heavily it can serve as a barrier to reduce CBB attack. It is most effective when applied six weeks after flowering and early in the season. The frequency of applications also affects efficacy. Maximum protection to the beans can be achieved with applications every two weeks. Alternating with Mycotrol can be quite effective when applied at monthly intervals. A report on research using Surround can be found in a UH CTAHR publication at

USDA and HDOA have offered grants subsidizing the purchase of Beauveria bassiana. Check the website for information and contact Colehour Bondera from the Kona Coffee Farmers Association at for up-to-date information on applying.

An excellent publication from the Kona Coffee Farmers Association with lots of information about dealing with the CBB is available at It covers non-organic Botanigard as well as Mycotrol.

Some questions that appear here were originally directed to Kona’s Certified Master Gardeners. You may contact them with questions at

Diana Duff is a plant adviser, educator and consultant living on an organic farm in Captain Cook.

Gardening Events

Saturday: “Cream of the Crop,” 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Kona coffee and coffee dessert competitions and tastings, crafts, plants and live music. Free admission. More information at

Farmer Direct Markets

Wednesday: “Hooulu Farmers Market” 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sheraton Kona Resort &Spa at Keauhou Bay

Wednesday: “Sunset Farmers Market” 2 p.m. – sunset at the north makai corner of the Kmart parking lot.

Saturday: “Keauhou Farmers Market” 8 a.m. – noon at Keauhou Shopping Center

“Kamuela Farmer’s Market” from 7 a.m. to noon at Pukalani Stables

Sunday: “South Kona Green Market” 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook

Monday–Saturday: “U-Pick greens and produce” 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tropical Edibles Nursery, Captain Cook.

Plant Advice Lines



Thursday: 9 a.m. to noon at UH-CES in Kainaliu – 322-4892

Monday, Tuesday and Friday: 9 a.m. to noon at UH CES at Komohana in Hilo 981-5199 or

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