HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Growers consider it inevitable that the borer will wind up on all islands, and that it can never be completely eradicated. But it can be controlled, and so far it has been seen only on the Big Island and Oahu.
A natural fungus kills it when sprayed on trees. Cleaning berries and branches and leaves from the underlying ground slows the spread. Keeping trees back from roads is a key tactic on islands that don't have it yet. At first, some smaller farms ignored calls to do this stuff. Demand for beans was so great, they could sell infested coffee. Then production rebounded a little, and mills began rejected coffee with 40% borer infestation.
That was a wake-up call for laggards, who got with the program, to their own great benefit. The main problem now is abandoned farms and – dig this term – feral coffee. But average infestation rates are down to 12% and still declining.
More good news – growers are beginning to see that the borer doesn't like higher elevations.