Coffee berry moth

University of Minnesota. Dr. Jan Breithaupt. Courtesy of
Is this a Minor Pest?: 
Minor Pest Title: 

Coffee berry moth (Prophantis smaragdina)

Minor Pest Description: 

The adult is a small golden brown moth with a wingspan of about 1.3 mm. The female moth lays scale-like eggs singly on or near green berries. The caterpillar is reddish to pink in colour with dark markings on the back, and measures 13 mm when fully grown. Caterpillars bore into green, half-grown berries, starting near the stalk and hollow them out. One caterpillar usually attacks several berries in 1 cluster. Attacked berries turn brown to black. When 1 bean has been eaten, it leaves the berries and wanders over the cluster of berries joining them with threads of silk before boring into a second berry. Flower buds and the tip of suckers may also be attacked. Caterpillars pupate on the ground between dry leaves. Occasionally severe attacks occur at low altitudes. Frequently slight damage by the berry moth is considered beneficial since it has the effect of thinning out overbearing branches.


Minor Pest What to do.: 
  • Conserve natural enemies. Parasitic wasps attack coffee berry moth caterpillars.
  • Check the trees carefully for symptoms of infestation at and soon after the main flowering.
  • Spraying should be done if buds or young berries are being eaten; this is before they bore into the berries, and if all berries are needed. Spraying when caterpillars are feeding inside large berries in webbed clusters is a waste, since the pesticide would not reach them.
  • Hand picking of attacked berries should be feasible in small plots.
  • Experiments in Yemen showed that traditional methods (application of branches of Athab tree (Ficus salicifolius) inside coffee tree, smoking by burning cow manure at night during full moon and removing newly infested parts of trees attacked by the insect and burning them) decreased the population density of coffee berry moth and reduced damage by this pest. All treatments were effective but the combination of the tree treatment showed a long lasting effect and it was the most effective in reducing the rate of berry infestation (H. S. Mahdi et al., 2006)
Minor Pest Position: 
Minor Pest Firstcontent: 
Pest Type: 
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