Avoiding a Bitter Brew: Trying to Save Kona's Beans From Coffee Berry Borers

Courtesy: Hawaii Department of Agriculture

For Elsie Greco to know how bad Hawaii’s coffee berry borer infestation is all that she needs to do is to see the coffee fruit that surrounds the growing beans.

Usually, Greco, a University of Hawaii at Manoa researcher, said last week, she’ll only find one hole, like a belly button on the skin, left by a tiny beetle that’s bored itself into the fruit.

But at times since the beetle was found on Kona a couple of years ago, Greco said she’ll take samples from coffee plantations back to the lab. And there, she finds two, three, or four holes.

So many belly buttons are a bad sign.

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