Exclusion nets are increasingly being used to protect a variety of agricultural crops from insect pests as a sustainable alternative to chemical controls. We examined the efficacy of exclusion nets in controlling the world’s most damaging insect pest of coffee, Hypothenemus hampei
(coffee berry borer), on two small-scale coffee farms on Hawai’i Island. We recorded microclimate data, fruit infestation, population per fruit, sex ratio, mortality by Beauveria bassiana
, coffee yield and quality in four paired exclusion and control (un-netted) plots on both farms. Mean and maximum daily temperature and relative humidity were similar between treatments, while mean and maximum daily solar radiation was reduced by ~50% in exclusion plots. Green and ripe fruit from exclusion plots had significantly lower infestation compared to un-netted control plots at both farms. We observed no significant difference between exclusion and control plots in the number of CBB per fruit or the female:male sex ratio. CBB mortality was significantly higher in control relative to exclusion plots in one of the two farms. Ripe fruits harvested from exclusion plots were on average significantly heavier and wider than those from control plots; however, there was no significant difference in the average yield per tree between treatments. Lastly, coffee quality was not significantly different between control and exclusion plots. Our results suggest that with complete sanitation prior to net installation in an environment where CBB is actively circulating, exclusion netting can successfully control CBB on small-scale coffee farms without reducing coffee yield or quality, and has the potential to lower production and labor costs by eliminating the need to spray pesticides.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited