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Freezing as a Treatment to Prevent the Spread of Hypothenemus hampei (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), in Coffee

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Coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) is the most serious insect pest of coffee around the world. Although it is already present in most of the world's major coffee growing regions, it is important to delay further spread and to prevent reintroductions that might include hyperparasites or improve the genetic base of existing populations. Green coffee is shipped around the world for custom blending and roasting and such shipments carry the risk of spreading H. hampei. We used heavily infested coffee berries as a surrogate for green coffee to test the freezing tolerance of H. hampei. After freezing, all life stages of H. hampei were dissected from coffee berries and mortality was assessed. Counting all life stages, >15,000 insects were measured in this study. A temperature of approximately −15°C (range, −13.9 to −15.5) for 48 h provided 100% control of all life stages. A logit regression model predicted ≤1 survivor in a million for treatments of −20°C for 5 d or −15°C for 6 d. A freezing treatment for green coffee might be more economical and acceptable compared with fumigation with methyl bromide, especially for small-scale and organic growers and millers in Hawaii who ship green coffee beans to other islands for custom roasting. Freezing treatments could also be used to kill H. hampei in coffee seeds before export with minimal effects on seed germination if coffee seeds are first dried to critical water content levels in accordance with published methods.

Keywords: Hawaii; Hypothenemus hampei; coffee berry borer; freezing; green coffee

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EC12373

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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