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Title: Field-cage evaluation of the parasitoid Phymastichus coffea LaSalle (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) as a natural enemy of the coffee berry borer

item PEREZ, JEANNETH - Ecosur
item Vega, Fernando

Submitted to: Biological Control
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/28/2013
Publication Date: 12/1/2013
Citation: Infante, F., Castillo, A., Perez, J., Vega, F.E. 2013. Field-cage evaluation of the parasitoid Phymastichus coffea LaSalle (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) as a natural enemy of the coffee berry borer. Biological Control. 67:446-450.

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. Biologically based insect control using beneficial insects reduces damage to crops and saves farmers time and money. In this paper we report on Phymastichus coffea, an insect that attacks and kills the coffee berry borer, thus reducing yield losses in coffee plantations. This information will be of use to coffee scientists, entomologists, and the coffee industry.

Technical Abstract: Phymastichus coffea (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) is an African parasitoid that has been imported to Mexico and other Latin American countries for the biological control of the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae). As a part of the evaluation of this natural enemy in Mexico, we conducted a series of experiments to evaluate parasitism rates under different parasitoid:borer ratios (1:5, 1:10, 1:15, 1:20 and 1:30) using entomological sleeves. Presence of the wasp inside the sleeves did not affect the colonization of coffee berries by the borer. Borers that did not enter coffee berries were more susceptible to be parasitized by P. coffea than borers that entered the berries. The treatment resulting in the highest level of parasitism was the 1:5 parasitoid:borer ratio, which had 79% parasitism when borers were outside berries. The 1:5 and 1:10 parasitoid: borer ratio resulted in the highest parasitism. The weight of coffee seeds significantly decreased in treatments where no parasitoids were used (control) and in treatments with the highest number of borers. All treatments that received parasitoids to control the coffee berry borer had a higher seed weight than the control, showing the beneficial effect of this natural enemy. Our results indicate that P. coffea has a strong potential to become an effective biological control agent against the coffee berry borer.