Coffee berry borer


Be on the lookout for coffee berry borer.

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Coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei, is the world's most serious pest of coffee. It affects almost all coffee-producing countries.

CBB causes premature fruit drop, reduced bean weight and poor bean quality. It also increases the likelihood of infection by other pests and pathogens.

CBB is currently not found in Australia.

Scientific name

Hypothenemus hampei


Coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei ) is in the family of Scolytidae ('bark beetles').

Other names

  • Coffee borer
  • Coffee weevil
  • Coffee drill
  • CBB



  • Adults are tiny black beetles.
  • Female adults (1.6–1.9mm long) are larger than males (1–1.3mm long).
  • Adults have short club shaped antennae. Short stiff hairs cover their bodies.
  • High numbers of adults can be present in a single coffee fruit (berry).
  • Female adults fly but males do not. Females are the only life stage found outside the coffee fruit (berry) in nature.


  • Larvae are small white legless grubs with brown heads.
  • The first instar is 0.6–0.8mm long; the second (and last) instar can grow to about 2.2mm long.


  • Pupae are initially white, turning yellow after 10 days of development.
  • Female pupae can grow to about 1.7mm long, males to about 1.2mm.


  • Eggs are milky white.
  • Eggs are elliptical or ovoid, 0.5–0.8mm long and 0.25–0.35mm wide.

Plant stage and plant parts affected

Female adults can attack coffee fruit (berries) at any stage of development, from immature green to overripe black, eventually boring into the beans (seeds).

Plant damage and symptoms

  • Small holes (about 1mm in diameter) at the apex of the fruit (berry) are often visible; these are the entry holes of female adults.
  • Sawdust-like debris (frass) may be visible near the hole.
  • Most eggs, larvae and adults remain inside the coffee fruit (berries), so fruit must be cut to check for infestation.
  • Infestation can sometimes cause internal rotting of fruit.

May be confused with

Coffee berry borer is similar in appearance to many small bark beetles found in tropical and subtropical areas. Many of these other bark beetles are harmless and do not infest coffee plants.

CBB needs to be identified by an expert. If you suspect you have found CBB, report it online or contact us online, by phone or in person.


CBB is widespread in most coffee-producing countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and South America.

CBB was discovered in Papua New Guinea in 2017 and was declared endemic in 2020.

It is not currently present in Australia.


  • coffee
  • coffea arabica (arabica coffee)
  • coffea canephora (robusta coffee)

Life cycle

  • Mated adult females bore into coffee fruit (berries) from the immature fruit stage up to harvest time.
  • The female enters the fruit (berry) and constructs irregular tunnels and galleries in the beans (seeds) to lay eggs in.
  • The eggs hatch in the beans (seeds) and develop into larvae that feed on the beans.
  • Larvae feed for 10–26 days, depending on the conditions, passing through 2 instars as they grow.
  • The pupal stage lasts 4–9 days, after which the adults emerge.
  • Once the adults emerge from the pupae, the females mate with the flightless males within the fruit (berry).
  • There are usually 10 times as many females as males in each generation.
  • Mated females either exit the fruit (berry) to find another berry or stay in the same berry, then lay their eggs, starting the cycle all over again.
  • An adult female can be active for 2–7 weeks, producing more than 100 eggs.
  • There can be 2–13 generations per year, depending on environmental conditions.


CBB is the most serious pest of coffee in the majority of coffee-producing countries. It can cause significant crop losses, from 50% to 100%. Economic losses are over US$500 million worldwide.

In Australia, coffee production is currently about 600 tonnes per year, predominantly from the tropical and subtropical areas of Queensland and New South Wales. Infestation could cause impacts similar to those in other countries.

How it is spread

CBB spreads locally over short distances by the females flying to new plants seeking new fruit (berries) to lay their eggs in.

Pathways for spread over longer distances are human-assisted and include:

  • movement of unprocessed beans (seeds) in containers or packaging, such as hessian coffee bags
  • hitchhiking on or in used bags, equipment, vehicles and clothing.

Monitoring and action

  • Inspect coffee plants, especially fruits and seeds, for signs of infestation.
  • Avoid using unsterilised second-hand bags in coffee production, particularly imported hessian coffee bags.


Only import unprocessed coffee beans through legal channels – check the Australian biosecurity import conditions for importation requirements.

Protect your farm from plant pests and diseases:

Legal requirements

  • This is not a declared species under the Land Protection (Pest and State Route Management) Act 2002 but may be declared under other legislation or local government law.

Further information