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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #286883

Research Project: Pre and Postharvest Treatment of Tropical and Other Commodities for Quarantine Security, Quality Maintenance, and Value Enhancement

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Title: Freezing as a treatment to prevent the spread of coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in coffee

Author
item Hollingsworth, Robert
item Jang, Eric
item Follett, Peter

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2012
Publication Date: 4/30/2013
Citation: Hollingsworth, R.G., Jang, E.B., Follett, P.A. 2013. Freezing as a treatment to prevent the spread of coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in coffee. Journal of Economic Entomology. 106(2):653-660.

Interpretive Summary: Coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) is the most serious insect pest of coffee around the world. While it is already present in most of the world’s major coffee growing regions, it is important to prevent additional introductions of this pest which might also introduce hyperparasites or improve the genetic health of existing populations. Green coffee is shipped around the world for custom blending and roasting and such shipments carry the risk of spreading coffee berry borer. We used heavily infested coffee berries as a substitute for green coffee (coffee which has been processed but not yet roasted) to test the freezing tolerance of this pest. After freezing, all life stages of H. hampei were dissected from coffee berries to determine if insects were living or dead. Altogether, there were more than 15,000 insects counted in this study. A temperature of approximately -15°C maintained for 48 hours provided 100% control of all life stages. A statistical model based on survival data predicted that there would be less than one surviving insect out of a million insects if infested coffee berries were exposed to a temperature of -20°C for five days, or if a freezing temperature of -15°C was used for six days. These treatments may be more economical and convenient than using methyl bromide to fumigate coffee in cases where coffee berry borer is the only pest of concern in the region of the world where the treatment is being used. Freezing treatments could also be used to kill coffee berry borer in coffee seeds before they are exported to new areas. These treatments should have only a small negative effect on seed germination if coffee seeds are first dried to critical water content levels following published methods. A freezing treatment would permit organic and small-scale growers and millers in Hawaii to safely ship green coffee beans to other islands.

Technical Abstract: Coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) is the most serious insect pest of coffee around the world. While it is already present in most of the world’s major coffee growing regions, it is important to delay further spread and to prevent re-introductions which might include hyperparasites or improve the genetic base of existing populations. Green coffee is shipped around the world for custom blending and roasting and such shipments carry the risk of spreading H. hampei. We used heavily infested coffee berries as a surrogate for green coffee to test the freezing tolerance of H. hampei. After freezing, all life stages of H. hampei were dissected from coffee berries and mortality was assessed. Counting all life stages, >15,000 insects were evaluated in this study. A temperature of approximately -15°C (range -13.9 to -15.5) for 48 hours provided 100% control of all life stages. A logit regression model predicted =1 survivor in a million for treatments of -20°C for five days or -15°C for six days. Such treatments may be more economical and convenient than fumigation with methyl bromide in cases where H. hampei is the only pest of quarantine concern. Freezing treatments could also be used to kill H. hampei in coffee seeds prior to export with minimal effects on seed germination if coffee seeds are first dried to critical water content levels in accordance with published methods. A freezing treatment would permit organic and small-scale growers and millers in Hawaii to safely ship green coffee beans to other islands.