Coffee Berry Borer Beetle

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crop: Coffee
Result: Increased coffee yields and reduced damage caused by the Coffee Berry Borer Beetle.
Location: Bogota, Colombia

Coffee trees, growing in Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei – Coleoptera: Scolytidae) infested areas of Colombia (Fig. 1), were foliar sprayed with Agrostim organic-based fertilizer over a three-month period. While coffee trees in surrounding farms were heavily infested with this beetle, the Agrostim fertilized area was essentially free of infestation (Fig. 2).

The Colombian Ministry of Agriculture is recommending the usage of Agrostim for increasing the coffee yields and reducing the damage caused by the Coffee Berry Borer Beetle (= la broca) throughout the country.

The Coffee Berry Borer beetle is a major pest of coffee throughout the world. It arrived in Central America from Africa around 1970, and the beetle currently affects plantations in Mexico, the Caribbean, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Colombia. Control of this pest has been very difficult. Endosulfan has been one pesticide that has been effective,

Using a “vapor” to eradicate the beetle, but pesticide-resistant strains of H. hampei have appeared. In some cases, the concentration of Endosulfan required for any control can be 25 to 100 times the dosage of only a few years ago. Of course, with the significant increase in pesticide comes the concomitant increase of human exposure directly or through poisoning the soil and/or ground water. Recently, a number of concerns have been raised about the use of Endosulfan in Colombia, which has led to hundreds of poisonings and several deaths of coffee plantation workers. Endosulfan was banned by the Colombian government in 1995, but it is still in widespread usage. Other methods, especially cultural agricultural practice are mandated. The usage of Agrostim is a pest control management alternative with significant potential.

A number of major research projects have attempted “biological control” of la broca through various species of beetle parasites, especially those from Africa, but these programs have been somewhat ineffectual.

Increased nitrogen fertilizer applications have gone hand in hand with the widespread removal of shade cover from American coffee plantations. Heavy synthetic chemical fertilizer (Urea, etc.) in coffee has contributed greatly to “nitrate” contamination of drinking water aquifers which are linked to certain cancers, birth defects, hypertension and developmental problems in children.

Agrostim, by providing a fully balanced nutritional organic based fertilizer, has significantly improved the overall “health” of the plants, thereby providing the Coffee trees the ability to fight off predator attacks such as the Coffee Berry Borer.