Research Article: Coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) development across an elevational gradient on Hawai‘i Island: Applying laboratory degree-day predictions to natural field populations

Date Published: July 17, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Lindsey J. Hamilton, Robert G. Hollingsworth, Mehana Sabado-Halpern, Nicholas C. Manoukis, Peter A. Follett, Melissa A. Johnson, Suzannah Rutherford.


Coffee berry borer (CBB, Hypothenemus hampei) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) is the most destructive pest of coffee worldwide. Information on CBB development times can be used to predict the initiation of new infestation cycles early in the coffee-growing season and thus inform the timing of insecticide applications. While laboratory estimates of CBB development under constant conditions exist, they have not been applied under the heterogeneous environmental conditions that characterize many coffee-growing regions. We measured CBB development times and abundance in commercial coffee farms across an elevational gradient on Hawai‘i Island and applied thermal accumulation models from previous laboratory studies to test their fit to field data. Artificial lures were used to infest coffee berries at five farms ranging in elevation from 279–792 m, and weather variables were monitored at macro (farm-level) and micro (branch-level) scales. CBB development was followed in the field from the time of initial berry infestation by the founding female through the development of F1 mature adults. Mean development time from egg to adult across all sites was 38.5 ± 3.46 days, while the mean time required for the completion of a full life cycle (from time of infestation to presence of mature F1 females) was 50.9 ± 3.35 days. Development time increased with increasing elevation and decreasing temperature. Using macro-scale temperature data and two different estimates for the lower temperature threshold (14.9°C and 13.9°C), we estimated a mean requirement of 332 ± 14 degree-days and 386 ± 16 degree-days, respectively, from the time of berry infestation to the initiation of a new reproductive cycle in mature coffee berries. Similar estimates were obtained using micro-scale temperature data, indicating that macro-scale temperature monitoring is sufficient for life-cycle prediction. We also present a model relating elevation to number of CBB generations per month. Our findings suggest that CBB development times from laboratory studies are generally applicable to field conditions on Hawai‘i Island and can be used as a decision support tool to improve IPM strategies for this worldwide pest of coffee.

Partial Text

Coffee berry borer (“CBB”, Hypothenemus hampei Ferrari) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) is the most destructive pest of coffee worldwide, causing enormous economic losses through direct damage to coffee beans [1, 2, 3]. Endemic to Africa, this highly invasive beetle is now found in all coffee-producing countries (the single exception is Nepal) and reduces both the yield and quality of coffee products [4, 5]. Adult females bore into the central disc of the developing green berries and into the coffee bean itself, where they excavate galleries in which to lay their eggs [6, 7, 8]. Females can lay >100 eggs in a single bean during a three-week period [8]. Inside the bean, the CBB develops through four major life stages: egg, larva (first and second instars), pupa, and adult (teneral and mature). CBB development occurs over 1–2 months depending on temperature and berry moisture [6, 7, 8]. Male offspring inseminate female siblings, and the mated females leave and search for a new berry in which to lay eggs or remain in the natal berry and begin reproduction [6, 7, 8]. The founding female remains with her progeny and does not leave the berry unless disturbed [6].

The principal aim of our study was to aid in improving coffee berry borer IPM by validating and refining laboratory degree-day predictions for CBB development rate by collecting real-time data on micro- and macro-scale weather while simultaneously tracking CBB development across an elevational gradient. Using macro-scale temperature data from five sites on Hawai‘i Island and laboratory degree-day models, our study established a mean requirement of 332 (LTT = 14.9°C) and 386 (LTT = 13.9°C) degree-days from the time of berry infestation to the maturation of female F1 offspring. Field validation of the LTT for CBB reproduction and pre-reproductive degree-day models developed by Jaramillo et al. [22] and Giraldo-Jaramillo et al. [24] suggest that these laboratory estimates are applicable to dynamic field settings and are useful for predicting CBB infestation cycles under varying field conditions. Secondarily, we found a predictive relationship between elevation and the number of generations per month for CBB in Hawaii, which can be used to help predict population dynamics at coffee-growing sites in the future.




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