I was asked a question about pesticides or insecticides on Hawaii coffee, now that we have the coffee beetle borer. In Kona, we are generally using a fungus which will kill the beetle. We used to have a fungus that grew naturally which would have controlled it. However, through the dry years of the 90’s and early new century, it mostly died out. The spores we spray now do not maintain themselves and die out after 4-5 weeks. So we spray every 5-6 weeks to control the bug.
This fungus is natural, expensive and we have added other natural ingredients to help the effectiveness, for example, garlic and organic nutrient mixes. Since it is a natural remedy, it works a little slower, has to be repeated regularly and often isn’t 100% effective. Some farmers are using cheaper chemical insecticide/pesticides to fight it which will require a permit and some regulations from the Dept. of Ag. However, there seems to be little oversight and some farmers use whatever they feel what will work despite the danger. Knowing the farmer that grows your coffee and what he is doing, is relative.
We at Langenstein Farms, use only natural products, at any expense, to do all we can that won’t impact the quality of our beans or the consumers well being. The extra labor and expense of the approved fungus is our way of treating both the environment and our customers fairly and with a good conscience. our next goal is to convert totally to Organic but presently we consider our coffee to be environmentally friendly; about 50% organic. Our biggest detriment to complete transition is controlling the invasive weeds and an affordable organic fertilizer program.