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Kona Farmers Estimate 20 Percent Losses from CBB Infestations

adult coffee berry borer

adult coffee berry borer. Photo courtesy U.S.D.A.

Hawaii Kona coffee farmers in 2012 estimate 20 percent losses from coffee berry borer (CBB) infestations, a figure that the Kona Coffee Farmers Association sees as encouraging as farmers follow the slogan “contain and kill.”

In a survey recently released by researchers at the University of Hawaii, 50 percent of the farmers surveyed said they felt like CBB was on the decline on their farms, compared to 13 percent last year. The beetles, native to Africa, were first discovered in Kona in September 2010.

In 2012, 76 percent of farms reported using traps to capture CBB, compared to just over 50 percent last year. From the study:

Most farms say they trap year round, though March and April have the highest captures. Traps made from milk cartons with “flaps” for the CBB to hit and fall into the kill solution are the most popular trap. Trapping is becoming more popular, and we need to determine if there is any control benefit in the orchard.

Spraying the fungus Beauveria Bassiana  — a popular insecticide — has also become a popular strategy, with some 80 percent of reporting farmers spraying in 2012. That number is similar to last year, with some 10 percent spraying year round.

The study also asked farmers if CBB infestations were causing them or other farmers to leave the industry or pursue other crops:

58% of farmers reported that no one was quitting coffee, 19% knew of five, 10% knew of 10 quitting. 50% of farms now border areas with feral or abandoned coffee.