Kona coffee inventories are unusually low this year, as some crops have been devastated by a drill beetle infestation, according to one Kona-distributing company.
Kona Luna Coffee Company says Kona growers have also been suffering from falling prices as their inventory dwindles. Following is the story of the infestation, as outlined in a press release by the company:
In 2010, Kona coffee farmers began to notice small holes in the beans harvested from certain trees. In September of that year, there was confirmation of what many had feared – the dreaded Coffee borer beetle, Hypothenemus hampei, had made its way to Hawaii. The drill beetle, as it is more commonly known, has plagued coffee crops in other parts of the world for many years. Its presence in Hawaii caught many farmers off guard, with awareness only spreading last year.
“The drill beetle is a difficult pest to eradicate, and requires cutting down the whole tree wherever it is found,” said Ron Cortez, a coffee roaster who has encountered the beetle before in Central America. “But the trees will grow back and production will bounce back stronger than ever. It’s part of the coffee cycle.”