Conservation Biological Control of Coffee Berry Borer by Applying Nitrogen Fixing Tree Mulch to Enhance Indigenous Entomopathogenic Nematodes

Project Overview

GW18-104
Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2018: $24,948.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2020
Grant Recipient: University of Hawaii
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:
Dr. Brent Sipes
University of Hawaii

Commodities

  • Additional Plants: coffee

Practices

  • Crop Production: agroforestry, alley cropping, Reduced pesticide use
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, workshop
  • Natural Resources/Environment: Improve soil health
  • Pest Management: biological control, mulches - killed
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil microbiology, soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    Coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei, is a world-wide threat to coffee (Coffea
    arabica) production, causing more than 35% yield loss if harvest is delayed. Coffee is the second
    most valuable commodity crops in Hawaii. Current management practices for CBB include
    labor-intensive field sanitation by strip picking cherries and cleaning ground along with multiple
    expensive applications of marginally effective Beauveria basssiana. This proposed project aim
    at developing a sustainable pest management strategies through inundative augmentation of a
    cosmopolitan soil dwelling parasite of CBB known as entomopathogenic nematode (EPN) in the
    genus, Heterorhabditis. Based on ecological knowledge on EPN, these nematodes prefer higher
    moisture and UV protection, which can be provided by mulching the soil under the coffee
    canopy where cherries infected with CBB would fall. Leucaena leucephala hybrid KX2 is a fast
    growing nitrogen-fixing tree locally available to farmers that is an ideal mulching materials for
    coffee production. Specific objectives of this research are to 1) develop an effective EPN
    application method through “CBB bombs” technique using meal worms as a carrier of
    indigenous EPNs; 2) enhance the persistence and infectivity of indigenous EPNs against CBB
    using mulch of N-fixing tree; and 3) evaluate tree mulch and “CBB bombs” on coffee yield,
    quality and economics. Two field trials will be conducted to evaluate if CBB bombs and KX2
    mulch can enhance parasitism of EPNs on CBB and improve coffee production. The success of
    this project would provide farmers an economically viable option to battle CBB while reducing
    fertilizer inputs, avoid intensive labor for sanitation, improving soil health condition through
    mulching, and likely lead to yield and profitability increases. Through publication of extension
    and peer reviewed articles, YouTube videos, field days and on-farm demonstration, we expect
    this project will easily be adopted and utilized by coffee farmers in Hawaii and beyond.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1) Develop an effective EPN application method through “CBB bombs” technique using meal
    worms as a carrier of indigenous EPNs.
    2) Enhance the persistence and infectivity of indigenous EPNs against CBB using mulch of N‐
    fixing tree.
    3) Evaluate tree mulch and “CBB bombs” on coffee yield, quality and economics.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.