Ban on Moving Unroasted Coffee Beans Enacted

February 24, 2012, 5:20 PM HST (Updated February 24, 2012, 5:20 PM)

Thinking about taking some unroasted beans from your backyard coffee plant to friends on Oahu? Better think again, because as of today such a move is not allowed without a permit.

The state today amended the rules governing transport of unroasted beans and other coffee-related materials to prevent the spread of the coffee borer beetle. The new rules permanently place the Big Island under a quarantine order requiring a Department of Agriculture permit to transport unroasted beans, coffee plants, used coffee bags and harvesting equipment to other islands in the state.

The rules, which are similar to a temporary one-year rule placed in effect in December 2010, also require inspections and treatment of those items prior to shipping interisland.

“The rules were established to give us the best chance to prevent the spread of the coffee berry borer to other islands,” Russell Kokubun, head of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture said in a statement issued today. “We appreciate the cooperation of coffee growers and shippers on Hawaii Island in helping to protect other Hawaii coffee regions from this serious pest.”

The quarantine does not affect interisland shipments of roasted coffee beans, or shipments of beans or coffee-related materials being exported directly out of state.

The coffee borer beetle was first found in September, 2010 in Kona, where it is now widespread, and was discovered in coffee beans in Ka‘u last May.

The beetle is a tiny dark-brown or black beetle smaller than a sesame seed. It is native to Africa but has been widely spread and now affects coffee crops around the world.


The beetle bores into the coffee berry to lay its eggs, and the hatching larvae feed on the developing bean. Because the larvae are inside the bean, the pest is difficult to control with pesticides.

The Board of Agriculture last year approved the use of pesticides containing Beauveria bassiana, a type of bacteria found in soil, to combat the beetle infestation.




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