By Kayiwa John
The white coffee stem borer scientifically known as Anthores Leuconotus is reported to have infested coffee shambas in some parts of Kabarole and Bunyangabu Districts. The reports indicate that the farmers in Nyabuswa, Kinyankende in Kabarole and Buheesi in Bunyangabu have been affected where their coffee shambas are destroyed by the pest in question. James Taliwenyuma of Kinyankende is one of the farmers that have been affected. Over 300 trees of his coffee have been destroyed by the pest.
The adult bores into the coffee stem and lays eggs inside. They later hatch into larvae –the most destructive stage. The larva eats up the xylem vessels of the plant making it holey and therefore interferes with the uptake of water and mineral elements. The larva continues to metamorphosis into the adult stage that again eats up the phloem tissues which interferes with the translocation of products of photosynthesis. This lead to wilting of the plant and in the end, it dries up.
How to identify the pest
- Holes on the plant stem
- Saw dust like matter spots on the plant stem
- The bark of the plant stem eaten up at different points
- The plant wilts and dries up
- Presence of other insects that intend to prey on the larvae but not destructive to the plant
How to control the white coffee stem borer
- Use contact pesticides to spray the infested shambas The best type to use is Imidacloprid. It is recommended to use a syringe to administer the chemical solution into the holes to have contact with the eggs, lavae pupa and the adults inside the stem.
- Mix fungicides ie orious together with the pesticide to control any fungal infections
- Use cultural methods like physical destruction of the pest and buning of the infested plant resdues
- Exercise field hygien and use of clean tools
Nevertheless for coffee plants that are destroyed, farmers are advised to stump the plants leaving the young breather branches for them to regenerate afresh. It is also good practice to spray using the chemicals highlighted above and burn the plant residues to ensure total eradication of the pest in the plantation.