Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Here Comes Natural Pest Control of Coffee Berry Borer

Here is something that is sure to enthuse coffee growers.

Coffee berry borer is a big threat for coffee growers. It is the most widespread coffee pest in coffee producing countries.  The female coffee borer drills galleries into the coffee berries where she deposits her eggs. The larvae then feed on the coffee berries.  The losses are enormous. Yearly coffee losses are pegged at US $500 million.

Now, Dr. Juliana Jaramillo from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya, Dr. Eric Chapman from the University of Kentucky, and colleagues have come up with a biological control of the pest.  They have identified a previously unknown predatory thrips (Karnyothrips flavipes ). These thrips feed on the eggs and larvae of the coffee berry borer Hypothenemus hampei.

The researchers believe that their findings provide coffee growers and coffee scientists with new insights into a biological control agent that could be conserved and augmented in coffee growing regions.

Details of the research appear in the journal Naturwissenschaften.

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