At least one Hilo area coffee farm is infested with the pesky and destructive coffee berry borer, according to University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Assistant Extension Agent for Coffee and Orchard Crops Andrea Kawabata. Kawabata said the infestation, located on an Amauulu farm, was confirmed by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Native to Africa, the coffee berry borer is a small, dark-brown beetle about the size of a sesame seed, that was first confirmed in the Kona area in September 2010 and then sporadically in Ka‘u the following May. The pest destroys coffee when the female burrows into the fruit and lives its life cycle within the seed, or bean, causing damage that can make the coffee relatively worthless.
Coffee berry borer infestations have been restricted to Hawaii Island. No infestations have been found on any of the other Hawaiian islands.