The first coffee berry borer, a beetle that feeds on coffee berries and reduces both the yield of quality of coffee, has been found on Kauai, the state Department of Agriculture reported today.
The DOA said a Kalaheo resident on Sept. 3 reported suspected infested coffee berries to the Kauai Invasive Species Committee, which then sent samples to the DOA and the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. An entomologist with the DOA’s Plant Pest Control Branch confirmed the presence of CCB on Friday.
CCB beetles are the most economically devastating coffee pest in the world, and in Hawaii are established on Hawaii island, Maui and Oahu. They were first discovered on Big Island in 2010, on Oahu in 2014 and on Maui in 2016, and cost the state over $25.7 million in coffee sales between 2011 and 2013.
The beetles bore into coffee cherries, where they lay their eggs. Larvae then feed on the bean, which hurts coffee quality and yield.
They are native to Central Africa but are now found in many parts of the world.
It’s not clear how the beetle traveled between islands.
The DOA said that Kauai Coffee, the island’s major coffee grower, reported no signs of CCB on its fields. The department, along with CTAHR and KISC, is devising a response plan to handle the discovery of the beetle on Kauai.
“While the extent of the infestation on Kauai is not known at this time, there is a strong coordinated effort between agencies and the coffee industry to try to contain and manage this pest,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairwoman of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, in a statement. “We also ask the Kauai community to be vigilant and report any signs of CBB in their backyard coffee plants.”
Pest management in Hawaii so far has consisted of pesticide use and field sanitation, the DOA said. The department also requires a permit, issued by its Plant Quarantine Branch, to transport unroasted coffee beans, plants and harvesting equipment between islands.
CBB infestations on Kauai can be reported to the DOA’s Plant Pest Control Branch, which can be reached at (808) 973-9525.