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Crop: Coffee

S.N: Coffea arabica, C.canifora and C.liberica

Family: Rubiaceae

Major pests

1.  White stem borer, Xylotrechus quadripes  

Symptoms of attack and nature of damage

  • Larvae enter into the hardwood and make the tunnels may extend even into the roots.
  • Tunnels - tightly filed with the excreta of the grubs.
  • Infested plants show visible ridges around the stem.
  • Yellowing and wilting of leaves.
  • Young plants (7 to 8 years old) attacked by the borer may die in a year


Identification of the pest

  • Adult - slender, long beetle (2.5 cm).
  • Forewings are black with white bands.
  • Males are generally smaller than females.
  • Head Shows distinctly raised black Ridges and the Hind Leg Femur extends beyond the apex of the Elytra
  • In the Female,the Black Ridges on the Head are not much conspicuous and the hind leg Femur does not extend beyond the apex of the Elytra
Head - Male Head - Female


  • Maintain optimum shade on the estates.
  • Trace the infested plants - flight periods (i.e, during March and September)
  • Every year - looking for ridges on the main stem and thick primaries.
  • Collars prune the infested plants, uproot and burn the affected parts.
  • Remove the loose scaly bark of the main stem and thick primaries using coir glove or coconut husk – kill the eggs
  • Scrubbing during flight periods - kills the eggs and grubs present in the bark region.
  • Deep scrubbing should be avoided ( sharp implement may injure the green wood and eventually kill the plant)
  • Swab the main stem and thick primaries - Lindane 20 EC @ 1300 ml in 200 of water along with 200 ml of any wetting agent.
  • Spraying the main stem and thick primaries with neem kernel extract may afford good control of the pest.
  • Field release of predators Apenesia sps for effective control of white stem borer
  • Field release of white muscardine fungus Beaveria bassiana (2.5 % field infection reported)
Beaveria bassiana - infection


2. Coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei

  • In India, the pest was first noticed on a few plantations in the Nilgiris during early 1990.
Symptoms of attack and nature of da20x24-06

Identification of the pest

  • Adult - small black beetle with a sub cylindrical body covered with thick hairs.
  • Males are smaller.
Coffee berry borer adults


 Life Cycle

  • Proper adoption of cultural practices and phytosanitary measures important for management of coffee berry borer.
  • Transportation of infested coffee to uninfected areas is the main reason for spread.
  • Crop bags should be fumigated before delivery to estates to avoid cross infestation.
  • Timely harvest
  • Gleaning - spreading gunny bags or polythene sheets on the ground after picking the berries - minimize gleaning.
  • Maintain optimum shade and good drainage.
  • Dipping infested berries in boiling water for 2-3 minutes kills all the stages inside.
  • Drying of coffee beans – prevents breeding of beetles in stored coffee based on moisture content level.
    • Arabica (10% moisture content) - 16kg/lit
    • Roubsta (11% moisture content) - 18kg/lit 
  • Instal attractant trap to collect and kill the beetles
Attractant trap
  • Instal multiple funnel trap and pitfall trap to collect and kill the adults
Multiple funnel trap 
Pitfall trap
  • Chlorpyriphos is also effective in controlling the beetle.
  • Field release of Cephalonomia stephendarix and phymastichus coffea for effective control these pests.
  • Applications of white muscardine fungus, Beauveria bassiana effectively reduce the borer attack

(Note: Spraying on ripe berries may not be useful. The time of application could be about 120-150 days after flowering (August – September for Arabica and September – October for Robusta).

Field application of Beauveria bassiana

  • Mix 500 ml of groundnut oil with 500 ml of any agricultural wetting agent thoroughly.
  • Add this suspension to 20 l of water and three bags of Beauveria culture the above solution mix well and strain through a muslin cloth.
  • Application of spore suspension on the infested coffee bushes using a bakpak sprayer, targeting the berries.
  • After 5 days application spores germinate and kill the insect.  



3. Shot hole borer, Xylosandrus compactus 

Symptoms of attack and nature of damage

  • Infests green succulent branches.
  • Young plants - main stem may be attacked.
  • Presence of shot hole
  • Initial symptom - drooping of leaves
  • Withered (faster in young branches and delayed in older twigs) or dried branches
  • Attacked Leaves fall and prematurely
  • Terminal leaves wilt, droop and dry up.
  • Severe infestation - loss of considerable number of productive branches.


Identification of the pest
  • Adult - brown to black with a short, sub cylindrical body and covered with fine hairs.
  • Females are darker and larger (1.5 to 1.8 mm)
  • Males are dull and small (0.8 to 1.0 mm)



  • Insecticide applications do not provide for shot hole borer control.
  • Grub entered into twig and make tunneling – Ambrosia fungus developed from the tunneling. Female lays eggs on the tunneling
  • After egg hatching, the white milky larvae feed on the ambrosia fungus
  • Prune the affected twigs 2 to 3 inches beyond the shot-hole and burn (September)
  • Remove and destroy all the unwanted/infested suckers during summer (avoid breeding).
  • Maintain thin shade and good drainage.


4. Mealy bugs, Planococcus spp.

  • Mealy bugs are the most important sucking pests of coffee.
  • P.citri (Risso) and P. lilacinus (Cockerell) are the most common species infesting coffee.

Symptoms of damage and nature of attack  

  • Young plants – susceptible for heavy infestation. 
  • Infest tender branches, nodes, leaves, spikes, berries and roots
  • Both nymphs and adults suck the sap from the leaves.
  • Severe infestation - Chlorotic leaves, aborted flower buds and small berries
  • Honey dew excrete – development of sooty mould fungus (affects photosynthesis)
Identification of the pest
  • Males - smaller and winged.
  • Female - wingless, oval body
Large white mealy bug 
Cherry infestation


  • Maintain adequate shade.
  • Destroy nets of red ant and cocktailed ant.
  • Control ants by dusting quinalphos 1.5% or methyl parathion 2% or malathion 5% around the base of coffee and shade trees. 
  • Spray the affected patches with quinolphos 25 EC 300 ml or fenthion 100 EC 150 using a gator sprayer.
  • Infested roots - drench the soil near the root zone with any one of the above insecticides at the same dosage. (Add 300 ml of Plantvax 20 EC or 160 g of Bayleton 25 WP in 200 l water)
  • In the case of young plants (2-4 year old) drenching with dimethoate 30 EC @ 3 ml per litre of water effective in root and shoot mealy bugs.
  • Field release of  two introduced natural enemies viz., the predatory lady bird beetle Cryptolaemus montrouzieri and the parasitoid Leptomastix dactylopii

DSCN0431 DSCN0433 DSCN0421

Adult of C. montrouzieri feed on mealy bug  
Grub of C. montrouzieri feed on mealy bug
Leptomastix dactylopii


5. Green scale, Coccus viridis (Green)

  • The green scale is a serious sucking pest of coffee, particularly Arabica.
Symptoms of attack and nature of damage
  • Nymphs and adults sucks sap from undersurface of the leaves, green shoots, spikes and berries. 
  • Upward curling and tender twigs drop
  • Honeydew excrete – development of sooty mould fungus
  • Heavy loss of the sap causes debility or even death of the plant.
Green scales on coffee fruits and leaves

Identification of the pest

  • Ants movement
  • Nymphs – pale yellow colour
  • Adult - flat, oval, light green, blackish spots on dorsum


  • Control ants as in the case of mealy bugs.
  • Remove and burn weeds which harbour the scale.
  • Spray the affected patches quinolphos 25 EC @ 120 ml or fenthion 1000 @ 120 ml or methyl parathion 50 EC @ 120 ml using a gator sprayer in 200 l of water and add 200 ml of any agricultural wetting agent in 200 l of the spray solution.


6. Brown scale, Saissetia coffeae 

Symptoms of attack and nature of damage
  • Nymphs and adults suck sap from undersurface of the leaves
  • Honeydew excrete – development of sooty mould fungus

Identification of the pest

  • Nymphs are yellow, greenish-brown or dark pink, flat and oval. ‘H’shaped yellow mark (Half grown scales)   
  • Adult female is hemispherical, body is covered by a brown hard shield.

Brown scales on coffee leaf


  • Control ants as in the case of mealy bugs.
  • Remove and burn weeds which harbour the scale.
  • Spray the affected patches quinolphos 25 EC @ 120 ml or fenthion 1000 @ 120 ml or methyl parathion 50 EC @ 120 ml using a gator sprayer in 200 l of water and add 200 ml of any agricultural wetting agent in 200 l of the spray solution.


7. Cockchafers or white grubs, Holotrichia spp. 

Symptoms of damage and nature of attack

  • Grown up coffee plants normally attacked.
  • Young plants (1 to 5 years old) attacked by white grubs
  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Stunted growth
  • Wilting of plants and die (summer period).
  • Attacked plants can be easily pulled out
Identification of the pest
  • Grub - C-shaped, dirty white with dark brown head.
  • Adults - reddish brown beetles



  • Affected plants – soil drench around the root zone with lindane 20 EC @ 750 ml in 200 of water.
  • In white grub-infested areas – at the time of planting apply phorate 5 G 10 g or carbofuran 3G 10 g into the soil in the pit.
  • Soil application of phorate 10 G @ 20 g per plant.
  • Field sanitation
  • Collect and kill the grubs
  • Install light traps and kill the trapped adults (March – June)

8. Hairy caterpillars,  Eupterote spp. 

Symptom of damage

  • Eupterote canaraica - important pests of Arabica coffee.
  • Feed on leaves and cause severe damage by denuding the plants.
  • Badly affected plants take 2 to 3 years to recover.


Identification of the pest
  • Caterpillar – pale yellow colour
  • Adult - brownish yellow moth, two diagonal bands and zigzag lines on the wings.
  • Male is smaller than the female  


  • Collect and kill the caterpillars.
  • Collect and burn pupae from January to May.
  • Install light traps (June/July) - collecting and killing months.
  • Spray any one of the insecticides such as quinalphos 25 EC @ 320 ml, methyl parathion 50 EC @ 160 ml, fenitrothion 50 EC @ 240 ml, along with 100 ml of an agricultural wetting agent in 200 I of water.


9. Coffee bean beetle, Araecerus fasciculatus
  • The coffee been beetle is a pest of coffee berries in the field and of beans in storage

Symptoms of damage

  • Severe infestation occurs only in storage
  • Absorption of moisture content
  • Infested coffee beans shows circular holes (bigger than made by the coffee berry borer)
  • Attacked fruits in the field shrink and become black.
  • Infestation results in loss of weight increase in triage and reduction of market value.


Identification of the pest

  • Adult - Pale grey with black spots and the entire body clothed of fine hair.
  • Forewings - few longitudinal lines.
  • Wings do not cover the tip of the abdomen.



  • Maintain optimum temperature, relative humidity and moisture content (less than 8%)
  • Fumigate the stored coffee with a 1:1 mixture of ethylene dibromide and methyl bromide.
  • Impregnate the gunny bags with a mixture of malathion 50 EC at 10ml + pyrethrum colloid at 2 g per litre of water.


10. Snail, Ariophanta solata  

Nature of damage

  • The snail feeds on the leaves of Arabica coffee and bark of tender braches
  • Skin of fruits.


Identification of the pest

  • Adult - medium sized snail, long and covered with a cream coloured spiralshell
  • Application of fish manure may attract snails.


  • Keep the estates clean.
  • Hand picks the snails and dip in hot water or salt solution.
  • Use heaps of leaves to trap the snails.
  • Broadcast the poison bait ‘snail kill’ (metaldehyde) of 25-35kg per hectare
  • Spreading of lime, soot and wood ash - repels snails.


11. Red borer, Zeuzera coffeae   

Symptoms of damage

  • Caterpillar bores into the stem or branches to feed on the wood.
  • In early stages of attack, young plants or braches show wilting.
  • Pellet-like excrement of the larva hangs out and accumulates at the base of the plant.
  • In advanced cases, the branch dries up.
  Identification of the pest
  • Adult - orange colour, medium sized moth with spotted wings.


  • Affected plants or twigs - cut and burnt.
  • Field release of white muscardine fungus B. bassiana and braconid parasite Amyosoma zeuzerae for control of the red borer



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