In the coming months, Hawaiʻi coffee growers will have their very own tiny version of Marvel’s superhero, Wasp. Virtually invisible to the naked eye, Phymastichus coffea (P. coffea), a minute parasitic wasp, targets the coffee berry borer (CBB), which causes severe yield losses coffee-growing regions world-wide.
Researchers in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources’ (CTAHR) Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences (PEPS) and USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) plan to deploy thousands of these wasps in coffee-growing areas on Hawaiʻi Island and possibly Maui and Oʻahu.
“This biological control agent has the potential to make significant positive economic impacts in the Hawaiʻi coffee industry, and offers an environmentally safe way to manage CBB,” said Professor and Extension Entomologist Mark Wright. “The Hawaiʻi coffee industry is economically and culturally significant, and we hope that this work will improve the lives of many people associated with the industry.”
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