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Destructive coffee bean beetle spreads to Hilo

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    The coffee berry borer is a “major threat” to the state’s coffee industry

HILO » A tiny beetle that damages coffee beans continues its destructive march across the island of Hawaii, home to the famous Kona brew.

State agriculture officials say at least one Hilo-area coffee farm is infested with the destructive coffee berry borer. The bug from Africa first was discovered across the island from Hilo near Kona in September 2010.

Andrea Kawabata of the University of Hawaii said the discovery of a new infestation was confirmed by the state Department of Agriculture.

The females burrow into the fruit to lay their eggs, causing damage that can make the beans worthless. The beetles are dark brown and about the size of a sesame seed.

The insect is native to Angola.

So far no infestations have been found on any other Hawaiian islands.

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