Birds Guard Coffee Farms

Avian species significantly reduce coffee berry borer beetle infestations in Costa Rica.

By | September 9, 2013

A coffee berry borer beetleDANIEL KARPBirds protect coffee farms from depredation by the coffee berry borer beetle Hypothenemus hampei, according to a study published last month (August 27) in Ecology Letters.

“Based on this study, we know that native wildlife can provide you with a pretty significant benefit,” study coauthor Daniel Karp, a conservation biologist at Stanford University, told Nature. “Incorporating their conservation into your management of pests is absolutely something you should do.”

The researchers came to their conclusions by covering coffee plants with netting to keep birds out and later comparing the netted crops to the unnetted ones. They found that making coffee plants accessible to birds almost halved beetle infestations.

In order to identify the protectors of the crops, the researchers analyzed bird feces for beetle DNA. They found that five birds species, including the yellow warbler, the buff-throated foliage gleaner, and the rufous-breasted wren, were protecting the coffee plants by chowing down on beetles. They also found that there were more beetle-eating birds in areas with more forest cover.

The findings suggest that coffee farmers might do well to become lovers of trees and birds, the authors said. “Retaining forest and accounting for pest control demonstrates a win–win for biodiversity and coffee farmers,” they wrote in their paper.

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute
    Daily News That Other CRISPR Patent Dispute

    The Broad Institute and Rockefeller University disagree over which scientists should be named as inventors on certain patents involving the gene-editing technology.

  2. How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body
    Daily News How Gaining and Losing Weight Affects the Body

    Millions of measurements from 23 people who consumed extra calories every day for a month reveal changes in proteins, metabolites, and gut microbiota that accompany shifts in body mass.

  3. DOE-Sponsored Oak Ridge National Laboratory to Cut 100 More Jobs
  4. Neurons Use Virus-Like Proteins to Transmit Information
AAAS