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Coffee Stem Borers


African stem borer in coffee tree trunk

Coffee stem borers (beetles in the family Cerambycidae) are serious pests of coffee in Africa, Asia and Latin America, causing production losses, severe damage to trees and in some cases, substantial tree mortality.

There are a range of species, all of which have larval stages concealed in the woody part of the plant. Whereas they could once be controlled successfully with bands of DDT or similar organochlorine insecticides applied to the stem, there is no longer a satisfactory, environmentally acceptable control solution. Recent work carried out in collaboration with the national programme in Zimbabwe by CABI Bioscience scientists has resulted in the discovery of fungal pathogens and nematode species which can kill these insects in situ inside the stem of the tree.

This work may, one day, lead to the production of biopesticides that are capable of surviving inside the tree and effectively killing the borers.

Dr. Peter Baker is currently co-ordinating a project in India, Malawi and Zimbabwe to develop and implement new ways of controlling stem borers, focusing on methods that are designed to be environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and cheap enough to be within the reach of smallholder coffee farmers. This will enable farmers to more sustainably maintain their coffee without recourse to expensive replanting or control measures.

 
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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