DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the tiny coffee berry borer beetle (Hypothenemus hampei) is the most harmful pest to coffee crops worldwide. Transport of infected seeds has affected crops in over 70 countries. An adult female drills the berry and lays 35 to 50 eggs. New adults mate, and wingless males stay in the fruit while females lay eggs in other fruits of the same plant or fly off to colonize new plants. Up to a hundred beetles can be found in a single fruit. Insecticides are useful only before the female penetrates the berry, so control is mostly by visual inspection. The application of efficient control programs is difficult, since the coffee plant is perennial, with several flowering periods, and grows in areas with very unpredictable weather. Parasitoids used for biocontrol of the borer beetle are hymenoptera (wasps) native to Africa. Magnification: x16 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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