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Freezing as a Treatment to Prevent the Spread of Hypothenemus hampei (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), in Coffee

Hollingsworth Robert G., Jang Eric B., Follett Peter A.
Journal of economic entomology 2013 v.106 no.2 pp. 653-660
Curculionidae, Hypothenemus hampei, coffee beans, cold tolerance, exports, freezing, fumigation, genetic background, growers, insect pests, islands, methyl bromide, mixing, mortality, organobromine compounds, regression analysis, risk, roasting, seed germination, seeds, temperature, water content, Hawaii
Coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari) is the most serious insect pest of coffee around the world. Although it is already present in most of the world's major coffee growing regions, it is important to delay further spread and to prevent reintroductions that might include hyperparasites or improve the genetic base of existing populations. Green coffee is shipped around the world for custom blending and roasting and such shipments carry the risk of spreading H. hampei. We used heavily infested coffee berries as a surrogate for green coffee to test the freezing tolerance of H. hampei. After freezing, all life stages of H. hampei were dissected from coffee berries and mortality was assessed. Counting all life stages, >15,000 insects were measured in this study. A temperature of approximately -15°C (range, -13.9 to -15.5) for 48 h provided 100% control of all life stages. A logit regression model predicted ≤1 survivor in a million for treatments of -20°C for 5 d or -15°C for 6 d. A freezing treatment for green coffee might be more economical and acceptable compared with fumigation with methyl bromide, especially for small-scale and organic growers and millers in Hawaii who ship green coffee beans to other islands for custom roasting. Freezing treatments could also be used to kill H. hampei in coffee seeds before export with minimal effects on seed germination if coffee seeds are first dried to critical water content levels in accordance with published methods.