CBB confirmed in wild coffee on Lanai

  • A coffee berry borer-infested coffee bean and cherry is shown. The state Department of Agriculture announced Thursday the beetle has been confirmed in a residential area in Kalaheo on Kauai.

Days after confirming the coffee berry borer in a residential area on Kauai, state agricultural officials announced Tuesday the pest had been located in wild coffee on Lanai.

It was Lanai’s first detection of the coffee plant pest that has been established on Hawaii Island, Maui and Oahu for years.

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Between July 17-31, adult beetles were trapped in a forested area during a bark beetle survey in the Lanaihale, Munro Trail area. On Aug. 6, beetles and infested berries were hand-collected from wild coffee plants in the Kapano Gulch area by Pulama Lanai staff.

The samples from both collections were forwarded to the state Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control Branch in Honolulu where an entomologist confirmed them as CBB. The department said it 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 Lanai,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the state 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 Oahu in December 2014 and on Maui in December 2016. It is still unknown how CBB first made its way to Hawaii Island and how it has spread to other islands.

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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 Hawaii, 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.

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