Submitted to: PLoS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/31/2009
Publication Date: 8/3/2009
Citation: Jaramillo, J., Chabi-Olaye, A., Kamonjo, C., Jaramillo, A., Vega, F.E., Poehling, H., Borgemeister, C. 2009. Thermal tolerance of the coffee berry borer Hypothenemus hampei (Coleoptera: Curculionidae): inferences of climate change impact on a tropical insect pest. PLoS One. 4(8):e6487.
Interpretive Summary: The coffee berry borer is the most devastating pest of coffee throughout the world and causes millions of dollars in losses each year. Increased knowledge on the basic biology of the coffee berry borer can result in new insights on how to control this insect, thereby reducing losses and increasing yields. In this paper we report that the extremes for coffee berry borer survival are 59 and 86 degrees F, but development takes place only between 68 and 86 degrees F. This finding could explain why the insect does not thrive at certain elevations. This information will be of use to coffee scientists, entomologists, ecologists, and the coffee industry.
Technical Abstract: We determined the thermal tolerance of the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei, and make inferences on the possible effects of climate change on the insect using climatic data from Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. The extremes for coffee berry borer survival are 59 and 86 degrees F, but development takes place only between 68 and 86 degrees F. According to our models, a small increase in temperature will lead to faster insect development and since the insect feeds solely on coffee, it will likely track any geographical movement of the plant. The negative effects of climate change on coffee production could be alleviated by shade trees in coffee plantations, which mitigate microclimatic extremes and could decrease temperatures by up to 7°F. Such reductions in temperature could directly affect the development of the insect and consequently, reduce yield losses.