Issue of July 7, 2019
     
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BSU graduate builds lure traps to manage coffee berry pests
by Jennyline S. Tabangcura

An alumnus of Benguet State University who is now a research assistant at the university’s Cordillera Organic Agriculture Regional Development Center is willing to share his knowledge in making lure traps for coffee berry borers.

For his undergraduate thesis, Jimmer John Bisaya, who was then taking up Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Entomology, built a lure trap for coffee berry borers. 

The trap that he built is based on a design published by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The Hawaiian design uses two-liter capacity plastic bottle, lure bottle, galvanized wire, methanol, ethanol and soapy water. 

He tweaked the Hawaiian design to fit the condition of the one-hectare farm at Sitio Sayet, Atok, Benguet where he installed the trap. A plastic plate was added to prevent rainwater from diluting the solution inside the trap and instead of a polyethylene lure bottle, a vial perforated with a barbecue stick was used.

Bisaya said use of pesticides to kill the coffee borers has been ruled out. Aside from the fact that the coffee are grown organically, using pesticides is not cost-efficient because the borers would only burrow deeper and stay inside the berries.

Coffee borers are active throughout the year. He said it is important to keep the plantation clean because the pests continue living in the fallen coffee berries and in host plants if there are, waiting for new ones to emerge. Getting rid of infested beans immediately will greatly reduce the chances of re-infestation, Bisaya said.

The lure traps, on the other hand, will take care of any remaining coffee borers after the infested beans have been cleared.

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 beetles. 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 three parts methanol and one part ethanol to imitate the smell of rotting coffee berries. The cover of the vial was pricked with a 7-cm long barbecue stick 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 cm. 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.


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