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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory » Research » Research Project #429589

Research Project: Develop Pest Management Technologies and Strategies to Control the Coffee Berry Borer

Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-22000-287-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Aug 10, 2015
End Date: Jul 28, 2020

Over the next five years we will focus on the following objective: Objective 1: Develop novel pest management technologies for control of coffee berry borer, involving the use of sesquiterpene repellents and the fungal entomopathogen Metarhizium anisopliae. • Sub-objective 1.A. Determine the effectiveness of a recently identified sesquiterpene as a coffee berry borer repellent. • Sub-objective 1.B. Evaluate the biological control potential of microsclerotial formulations of the fungal entomopathogen Metarhizium spp. These objectives will integrate various components that we believe are essential to greatly improving available pest management tactics and to move the field into a new direction.

The coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei, is the most devastating insect pest of coffee worldwide. Endemic to Africa, the beetle is now present in most coffee growing regions. Since most of its life cycle is spent inside the coffee berry, it is extremely difficult to control. Recent efforts aimed at managing the coffee berry borer have focused on biological control alternatives, including the release of parasitoids and the use of fungal entomopathogens. Mass production of some parasitoids has not been optimized, and in cases where these have been imported from Africa and released in the field, results have not been promising. Delivery of fungal entomopathogens remains a major obstacle due to the cryptic nature of the insect and the difficulty and cost of spraying in coffee plantations. This project will focus on two areas that will likely result in improved control of the coffee berry borer: (1) Determining the effectiveness of a repellent in reducing infestation levels; and (2) Assessing the effectiveness of microsclerotial granules of various species of the fungal entomopathogen Metarhizium against coffee berry borers that remain inside berries that have fallen on the ground. The results of this research project will greatly contribute towards the development of novel control tactics against this important agricultural pest.