Walking On Shave Ice: Breaking Up Da Beetles In Hawaii

We first reported to you last fall on borer beetle crisis developing in the Kona growing region of Hawaii. Sad news today, as the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that the nasty borer beetle has been found in Ka’u, the prized growing region on the southernmost tip of the Big Island:

The first infestation of the coffee berry borer in the Kau district of the Big Island has been detected at a farm in Pahala, state agricultural officials announced today.

Infestations of the beetle, which threaten Hawaii’s $27 million coffee-growing industry, have been concentrated in West Hawaii.

Fresh off working with the Rusty’s Hawaiian coffee used by Pete Licata in his USBC 2011 win, R. Miguel Meza of Isla Coffee talked story to Sprudge about how farms in Ka’u are combating the beetle scourge:

“CBB has been confirmed in Ka’u so far only on a couple farms. We have been on the watch for it since it was discovered in Kona. The state put traps in fields in Ka’u to detect its presence and monitor its populations last fall, but it will likely spread to other farms by the harvest season – to what extent remains to be seen. In Kona, farmers are trying to control by using the B. Bassiana fungus, which has been imported to spray on the trees as a control. Field management that involves removing infected cherries and over-ripe fruit form the fields is also being employed.

So far, at most of the farms I work with in Kona, the damage from the CBB has been limited, with less than 1% of beans affected. But how much of a problem it will be in the future, we dont know yet. More than direct damage from the crop, the biq expense incurred with its arrival is the labor that is needed to try and keep it under control. Most of what can be done requires labor… which never comes cheap in Hawaii.”

You can read the full story here via the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Comments

  1. says

    The slow infestation of Ka’u farms was to expected. It borders right on the Kona district and there’s only one road leading around the islands. Evtl. the other islands will get it, quarantine for green Kona or not. With the active travels btw coffee growing regions all around the world, coffee rust, leaf miner and other nasty things will come to Hawaii as well. As a coffee farmer one has to simply deal with Murphy’s law (what can go wrong, will go wrong). Our Kona farm has the coffee borer so far under control: maintaining traps, spraying beauveria bassiana fungus, cleaning up old coffee cherries adds about 4-6 weeks of work per year. But us small farms will prevail. The big farms and processors…well, we will see!

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