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Investigations into the use of Heterospilus coffeicola for the biological control of Coffee Berry Borer in Latin America and Africa




Coffee Research Centre (Uganda), Coffee Research Foundation (Kenya), Cenicafé, (Colombia), USDA Biocontrol and Mass Rearing Research Unit (Mississippi)

Project Description

Problem/Issue.The coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei, CBB) is the most serious pest of coffee globally. In recent years research into the control of CBB in its adventive range has focused on the use of parasitoids. Recent studies in part of the natural range of CBB, in Uganda, showed that in some areas, damage due to the CBB was low, while parasitism by H. coffeicola and another parasitoid, Phymastichus coffea, was relatively high. The latter parasitoid is already under investigation as a biological control agent. This project was initiated to investigate the ecology and biology of H. coffeicola, in the context as a new and potentially important egg-larval biological control agent for the CBB.

Measures to Date. Pesticides are frequently used in most countries affected by CBB, but these are expensive to use and can result in crops being contaminated with chemical residues. Cultural control has proved effective in some countries, e.g. India. Biological control has been attempted, through the introduction of bethylid wasps, Prorops nasuta and Cephalonomia stephanoderis, from the native area of the CBB in Africa, into parts of its adventive range, but these have not proved effective. More recently, assessments are being made in Colombia of a third parasitoid from Africa, Phymastichus coffea. Some countries are now placing emphasis on the development of IPM.

Project Activities. The H. coffeicola project was based at the COREC research station in Uganda. The research focused on identifying factors affecting parasitism such that rearing methods could be devised (to allow the parasitoid to be supplied to other countries) and to identify ways of enhancing parasitism in coffee farms. CABI Bioscience provided technical support and information to the project and also lead on some components of the research through extended visits. Information was gathered on geographical distribution, phenology, dispersal, field parasitism and reproductive biology; studies on rearing were also carried out.

Achievements So Far

The research project has delivered important ecological information on H. coffeicola that will facilitate further studies on rearing and the use of this species as a biological control agent.

What Next

Using the information collected to date, further work needs to be done to establish a successful rearing method to reliably produce viable populations for more detailed study and subsequent multiplication.

Dr R Day (Co-ordinator) r.day@cabi.org
Dr S T Murphy s.murphy@cabi.org

Start date: September 1999

End date: September 2001

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Contact CABI Commodities:
CABI Commodities Coffee Co-ordinator - Dr. Peter Baker - p.baker@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Cocoa Co-ordinator - Dr. J. Flood - j.flood@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Project Administrator - cabi-commodities@cabi.org