Student builds lure traps to manage coffee pests

By upao - Posted on 05 July 2019

For his undergraduate thesis, Jimmer John Bisaya, who was then taking up Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Entomology at Benguet State University, built and studied a lure trap for coffee berry borers. Coffee berry borers are small (over one-millimeter long) insect pests that decrease harvest.

Bisaya with adviser Dr. Bonnie Ligat conducted the study titled, “Pre-emptive Management Approach of Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemushampei Ferrari) in Arabica Coffee (Coffea arabica Linnaeus) in Atok, Benguet” at the one-hectare coffee plantation of the Atiw and Mayos families in Sayet.

“Daytoy coffee berry borers or CBB ket abutan da jay murdong ti kape and then once nga inuneg da, ag itlog da ijayuneg, ag dry jay coffee bean tapos ag-tinnagen. Ada ti infestation ijay Sayet, Caliking, Atok ken uray ditoy Longlong, La Trinidad metlang (CBB penetrate coffee beans, lay their eggs inside to cause the coffee berries to dry, turn black and eventually fall. There is infestation in Sayet, Caliking, Atok and even in Longlong, La Trinidad),” said Bisaya.

Since the coffee at the plantation were grown organically, pesticides are out of the question and impractical.

“Babassit ti CBB isu nga narigat met lang nu spray-am didjay ket umuneg laeng ket di ti pesticide ijay kape ken haan na met lang nga ma-reach dagijay CBB ta agi-iyan da met lang ijay uneg. Sayang lang jay pesticide and additional cost pay ijay farmers (CBB are small so spraying would only risk the coffee berries to contamination while failing to reach the CBB because they are inside the coffee berries. It will only be a waste of pesticide and an additional cost for the farmers),” Bisaya explained.

CBBs are active all throughout the year. Thus, Bisaya emphasized the importance of sanitation. He explained that the insect pests continue living in the fallen coffee berries and in host plants if there are, waiting for new ones to emerge. Getting rid of CBB infested beans immediately will greatly reduce the chances of re-infestation.

The lure traps, on the other hand, will take care of any remaining CBB after the infested beans has been cleared and taken away. The lure trap Bisaya built was based on a design published by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The Hawaiian design utilizes 2 liter capacity plastic bottle, lure bottle, galvanized wire, methanol, ethanol and soapy water.

Bisaya innovated the Hawaiian lure trap to fit the conditions in Atok, a plastic plate was added to prevent rainwater from diluting the solution inside the lure trap and instead of a polyethylene lure bottle, a vial pricked with a barbecue stick was used.

To make the lure trap, a 4x4 square inch window was cut in the plastic bottle, 10 centimeters away from its bottom to serve as entrance of the CBBs. A hole was made on the plastic bottle cap and a 38.1 cm wire was inserted and tied at the neck of a vial containing a mixture of 3 parts methanol and 1 part ethanol to imitate the smell of rotting coffee berries. The cover of the vial was pricked with a 7-cm long barbecue stick made of bamboo (do not take the stick off) to let the odor out. The other end of the wire served as the handle of the trap. The trap was hung on the coffee tree branches, 10.16 centimeters above the ground.

At the bottom of the bottle is a 75 ml powdered soap solution meant to drown the coffee berry borers. Bisaya cautioned that powdered soap with strong odor such as those with fabric conditioners is not acceptable since it will interfere with the odor of the methanol-ethanol mixture. A plastic plate with a diameter of 22.86 cm was attached on top of the bottle to avoid rainwater diluting the solutions inside. The plastic bottle and plastic plate was spray-painted red to imitate the color of coffee cherries.

In the case of the Atiw and Mayos plantation, Bisaya monitored that the highest population of CBB caught in the different lure traps were recorded in March until the first week of April when most of the coffee berries were harvested. March and April are the stages of dearth period where no berries were harvested. This shows that setting up of lure traps in March to May when there are no berries can reduce the population of CBB.

Results of Bisaya’s study also worked on the findings of a previous study by BSU alumnae, Nora Hill Evasco who implemented lure-traps as well.

“In the study of Nora Hill, she tried to find out how many lure-traps should be used for 25 trees. In my study, I covered 50 trees. Based on the results, four lure traps are recommended for 50 trees,” Bisaya said.

Bisaya is now a research assistant at BSU- Cordillera Organic Agriculture Regional Development Center (COARDC) and is willing to share his knowledge in making CBB lure traps.//JSTabangcura