Aloha, coffee farmers! In this article, we want to share some information about the life cycle of the Coffee Twig Borer (CTB) and how to manage this pest that can damage your coffee plants.
The CTB is a small beetle that belongs to the ambrosia beetle family. It is native to Southeast Asia, but it has spread to many countries where coffee is grown, including Uganda, Hawaii, and Florida. CTB attacks both healthy and stressed coffee plants, as well as many other tree species. It bores into the twigs and branches of the coffee plants and introduces a fungus that causes wilting and dieback of the infested parts. The CTB also feeds on the fungus that it introduced and reproduces inside the branches.
The CTB has a short and fast life cycle that depends on the temperature and humidity. The females are the ones that fly and look for new hosts to infest. They make tiny holes (about 1 mm in diameter) on the branches and lay eggs inside. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the fungus and develop into pupae. The pupae then turn into adults that mate inside the branch. The males are wingless and stay inside the branch, while the females emerge and fly to new hosts. The whole life cycle can take as little as 28 days at 27°C with 50-60% relative humidity.
To manage the CTB, you may wish to monitor your coffee plants and look for signs of infestation, such as wilting leaves, dead branches, and small holes in the twigs. You may decide to remove and destroy the infested branches as soon as possible and isolate the cuttings to prevent spreading by composting, burying, or burning them. Don’t let the beetles escape and return to the field. These practices will not eradicate CTB by may help to reduce infestation. Another way to reduce CTB damage is to keep your coffee plants healthy by providing them with adequate fertilizer and irrigation. You can also use shade trees to protect your coffee plants from direct sunlight and heat stress, but make sure they are not hosts for the CTB or other pests.
We hope this article gives you a little more insight into this pest and to try to control it in your coffee farms. For more information, you can check out these sources:
- Black Twig Borer: Tree Damage, Control & Prevention | Davey Tree
- Infestation and management of the Black coffee twig borer in Uganda
- Black Twig Borer – Welcome Coffee Growers!
- Pests and Their Management in Coffee | SpringerLink
- Black Coffee Twig Borer in Central Uganda – PlantVillage