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Coffee Berry Borer Found on the Eve of Annual Kau Coffee Festival – May 2011

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has confirmed the detection of a coffee berry borer infestation at one farm in Pahala in the Kau District on Hawaii Island.

Kau is a major coffee-growing area and surveys are currently being conducted in Kau to determine the extent of the infestation.  Some even hold the opinion that Kau coffee is a better coffee than the coveted Kona coffee.

CBB (Hypothenemus hampei), was first confirmed on farms in the Kona area in September 2010 and is widely established on the west side of the island.

This is the first detection of a CBB infestation on a Kau farm.

Staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and HDOA have been working with Kona coffee farmers to try to control infestations in Kona with the use of an insect-killing fungus and field sanitation practices.

CBB is a small beetle, native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee-growing regions of the world, including Central and South America.  It begs the question as to how they found their way into Hawaii.  This could potentially be a multi-million dollar problem for the state’s premier Kona Coffee industry and the burgeoning coffee growers from other parts of the state.

The beetle bores into the coffee berry to lay its eggs.

The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. Because the larvae are inside the bean, it makes it difficult to control with pesticides.

Inspectors from the Hilo USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection & Quarantine are also assisting HDOA in surveying for CBB in Kau.  Efforts are aimed at containing the infestation to the Big Island and eliminating the problem all together.

AND, while on the subject of Kau coffee, there is a two-day Kau Coffee Festival being held in Pahala over the weekend.   Starting tomorrow, the weekend event will be filled with music and entertainment, booths, farm tours, contests (including the Kau Coffee Cupping Demonstration and a Kau Coffee Recipe Contest & Tasting).  For more information and schedule of events, go to


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