Friday, November 14, 2014

Coffee Berry Borer

I just wrote about this little guy on my other blog.  The coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) is a small (<2 mm) beetle native to Africa. However, within the last 10-15 years it spread around the world and turned into one of the most harmful pest to coffee crops causing about $500 million of damage every single year.

The adult females bore a hole in the coffee berry, where they deposit their eggs. After hatching, the larvae start to feed on the coffee seeds inside the berry which means that later on there won't be any coffee bean left to produce coffee.

New research in Costa Rica shows that hungry birds can significantly reduce the damage by the coffee berry borer beetle.  A study found that insectivorous birds cut infestations by the beetle by about half. The birds may not pull a perfect café latte, but it turns out the are friends to coffee drinkers all the same.

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