- Associated Press - Saturday, January 7, 2017

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - A beetle that can destroy up to a third of a coffee berry crop has made its way to Maui.

The state Agriculture Department confirmed the coffee berry borer has infested a 13-acre farm on the island, reported the Maui News (https://bit.ly/2i4Tfx0).

Department entomologists said the farm’s infestation indicates the beetle has been there for some time.

A resident told agriculture officials about the beetle’s presence in November.

The department’s quarantine officials are looking into adjusting current restrictions to keep the coffee berry borer from spreading into unaffected areas.

“Despite strict quarantine rules that have been established on the interisland movement of coffee plants and plant parts from Hawaii island, CBB (coffee berry borer) infestations have been extremely difficult to contain,” said Scott Enright, chairman of the state Board of Agriculture. “We ask that coffee growers continue to be vigilant and learn about CBB and how infestations can be detected and managed.”

These tiny beetles bore into coffee cherries to lay eggs.

Larvae then feed off of the bean.

“When you pick it, it looks normal from the outside but there’s nothing inside,” said Kimo Falconer, owner of MauiGrown Coffee.

Falconer says the beetle has not been found on his 400-acre farm.

“You farm all your life; you know these are coming and they come,” Falconer said, noting that he’s taken steps to prevent the beetle from getting to his farm.

Workers have cut down roadside trees, monitored beans for damage and set traps for the pests.

“The thing doesn’t just grow and go nuts overnight,” said Falconer. “It takes a couple of years to blow into something.”

The beetle has not yet been spotted on Kauai.

Coffee berry borers will be the subject of two workshops on Monday at the Kula Community Center.

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Information from: The Maui News, https://www.mauinews.com

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