The coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) is a highly significant pest in the coffee industry worldwide. It causes extensive economic damage to coffee crops in all coffee-producing countries.
Damage and Infestation
These borers exclusively target and live within coffee berries. In cases of heavy infestation, they can attack 100% of the berries, resulting in severe crop losses. Furthermore, the quality of coffee obtained from damaged berries is significantly compromised.
The life cycle of the coffee berry borer comprises four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The majority of their life cycle occurs inside the coffee berry, with the duration varying based on temperature conditions. This cycle typically lasts between 24 and 45 days. Mating occurs within the coffee seed.
Egg-laying and Incubation
The female coffee berry borer bores a hole into the coffee berry and creates galleries within the seed to lay her eggs. This process can continue for around 20 days, with the female laying 2-3 eggs daily.
Overwintering and Emergence
During the period between harvest seasons, the female borers remain inactive within old berries on the coffee tree or on the ground. They await the arrival of the first rains, which stimulate their emergence and trigger their search for new berries to initiate the next reproductive cycle. Notably, coffee berry borers develop faster on the ground due to milder temperatures.
Males and Lifespan
Male coffee berry borers do not possess the ability to fly and remain inside the berry throughout their lifespan. Female borers have a lifespan ranging from 35 to 190 days, while males typically live for about 40 days.
Identification of Coffee Berry Borers
To identify coffee berry borers, it is essential to recognize their various life stages:
1. Eggs: These are milky-white, shiny, and elliptical or ovoid in shape, measuring approximately 0.7 mm in length and 0.3 mm in width.
2. Larvae: The larvae are legless, white in color, and have sparse fine hairs. They possess a brown hypognathous head, a three-segmented thorax, and a nine-segmented abdomen. Female larvae go through two instars, while males go through only one. Their length reaches about 2.5 mm, and they have well-developed mouth parts.
3. Pupae: Initially white, the pupae gradually turn yellow after a few days of development. Visible differentiations include mandibles, eyes, antennae, elytra, and membranous wings. Female pupae measure 1.7 mm in length, while males measure 1.2 mm.
4. Adults: Male coffee berry borers are wingless, stunted, and deformed. Female borers are entirely black, with the frontal margin of their pronotum featuring four teeth. They possess erect setae, which are at least eight times as long as they are wide. The median frontal suture of the head is well-defined and lengthy.
Feeding Behavior and Damage
Coffee berry borer females primarily attack immature and mature coffee berries, starting from approximately eight weeks after flowering until the harvest season. They bore holes into the berries and create galleries within the seeds to lay their eggs. Subsequently, the larvae feed on the coffee seeds.
The infestation by coffee berry borers results in the premature fall of young berries, increased susceptibility of infested ripe berries to fungal or bacterial infections, and a reduction in both the yield and quality of coffee. Without timely control measures, the coffee berry borer can cause substantial losses. The degree of damage tends to be higher if the harvest is delayed.
Confirmation of Infestation
Infestation by coffee berry borers can be confirmed by cutting open the berry. If the endosperm is still watery, the female will be found in the mesoderm between the two seeds, waiting for the internal tissues to solidify. If the endosperm is more developed, the borer will be found within the excavations and irregular galleries it has created.
Management and Control
Managing and controlling coffee berry borers involve both chemical and non-chemical methods.
Chemical control methods employ the use of insecticides. However, the effectiveness of these insecticides is maximized when applied before the female beetle penetrates the berry. This is due to the fact that the life cycle of the borers occurs inside the berries. Therefore, early and regular application of insecticides is highly recommended. The following insecticides are recommended for controlling coffee berry borers:
- LEXUS 247SC: 8ml/20l
- PROFILE 440EC: 30ml/20l
- RANGER 480EC: 30ml/20l
- KINGCODE ELITE 50EC: 10ml/20l
- SINOPHATE 750SP: 20g/20l
- PRESENTO 200SP: 5g/20l
It is advisable to mix the insecticides with INTEGRA at a rate of 3ml/20l to enhance their efficacy. To prevent the pests from developing resistance, it is recommended to alternate between several insecticides throughout the crop’s season.
Non-chemical methods of control can also be employed and include the following:
- Practicing rotations and intercropping to reduce pest populations.
- Maintaining field sanitation.
- Implementing proper weed control.
- Destroying attacked berries by burying them deep in the soil or burning them.
- Placing baited traps in pruned fields.
- Utilizing natural enemies of coffee berry borers to reduce their population.
Effective management and control strategies for coffee berry borers are crucial to safeguarding coffee crops from significant economic losses. Employing a combination of chemical and non-chemical methods can help mitigate the damage caused by these destructive pests.