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Title: The biology of Phymastichus coffea LaSalle (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) under field conditions

item Vega, Fernando

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/30/2009
Publication Date: 6/1/2009
Citation: Espinosa, J.C., Infante, F., Castillo, A., Perez, J., Nieto, G., Pinson, E., Vega, F.E. 2009. The biology of Phymastichus coffea LaSalle (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) under field conditions. Biological Control. 49:227-233.

Interpretive Summary: The coffee berry borer is the most devastating pest of coffee throughout the world. Eggs are deposited inside coffee berries and insects feed on the coffee seed, severely reducing yields. One mechanism to manage this insect involves the use of other insects that lay their eggs inside the coffee berry borer, eventually killing it. We have conducted studies aimed at understanding the basic biology of Phymastichus coffeae, an insect that attacks the coffee berry borer. The insect is a very effective natural enemy of the coffee berry and its presence results in marked reductions in coffee yield losses. Our findings will be of use to coffee scientists, entomologists, and the coffee industry.

Technical Abstract: The coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei, was accidentally introduced into México in 1978, and rapidly became the main pest of coffee. As an exotic pest, its management has been based on biological control methods based on the introduction of parasitoids from Africa. In field studies conducted in Mexico, the African parasitoid P. coffea showed highly significant preferences for allocation of two eggs per host, usually one female and one male. The life-cycle from egg to adult was completed in 48, 42 and 36 days for the high (920 m), medium (700 m) and low (420 m) elevation coffee zone, respectively. The lifespan of adults is two to three days only. The degree of parasitism by P. coffea was more than 95% in the three elevations when a ratio of 10 coffee berry borers to 1 parasitoid was used. The survivorship of coffee berry borers parasitized by P. coffeae was 13, 15 and 19 days in the low, medium and high altitude coffee zones, respectively. The damage of CBB to coffee seeds in treatments that received releases of parasitoids was from 3 to 5.6 times less when compared to the control.