- Associated Press - Monday, February 16, 2015

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Some Big Island coffee farmers are fighting bugs with bugs. They’re raising an army of defenders to prey on one of the most devastating coffee pests.

Farmers are fighting coffee berry borers, the tiny insects that cause damage by boring and depositing eggs into the berry. When the larvae hatch they feed on the bean and destroy it, reducing the coffee yield and quality, West Hawaii Today reported Monday (https://bit.ly/1JmOg3L ).

Farmers are raising the small and familiar Flat Bark Beetles, which are known to attack other beetle species. They’re keeping the predators in kits filled with cracked corn and cornmeal to expand the population.

Kits were distributed at a free workshop given to more than 100 people about the current research efforts pertaining to predators of coffee berry borers in Hawaii. Ninety-five kits were distributed to farmers, each holding 75 to 100 beetles.

The war will likely begin in a few months when participating coffee farmers begin releasing the bugs on their properties. At that time, coffee farmers can take the container outside to their field, open it, and let the bugs crawl or fly out.



The kit users are not introducing a new insect, but rather, they’re augmenting an already-present insect population, said Andrea Kawabata, coffee and orchard crop assistant extension agent for the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, https://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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