Like Coffee? Then You Love The Black-Throated Blue Warbler

by Matthew Kellso November 03, 2014

The Coffee Berry Borer, a small beetle native to many coffee farms, is the most feared enemy of any coffee farmer. These bugs are tiny, in fact they can be as small as a couple of millimeters in length. They typically attack the coffee cherry by burrowing a tiny hole in the top of the coffee berry.

In recent years this beetle has become more prevalent and is wrecking havoc on many coffee crops. In the last few years, these beetles have been found in coffee regions and elevations where they never resided in the past. Coffee Berry Borers are a real problem to the coffee industry and are the topic of much research and discussion. However, with respect to your stomach, we will not describe the beetle with any more detail.

Black-Throated Blue Warbler, A Coffee Roaster's Best FriendWe want to focus on a solution. There are many potential ways to combat the Berry Borer, but what is beginning to be proven as the optimal solution both for the coffee and the planet, is to create an environment that allows for the beetle's natural predators to do their job. That's where the Black-throated Blue Warblers come in.

In studies they are one of a few birds that consistently reduce the problems caused by the Berry Borers in coffee crops. These birds live in trees, not coffee trees, but the kind that provide a nice protective canopy over the coffee tree. That means farms that work hard to create a good shaded environment for their coffee trees have had success in creating the correct habitat for these predators.

Recently, I've been studying the coffee farming process quite a bit. I find the science that goes into coffee growth fascinating. Not only the topics about the growth of the coffee cherry but also the strong ecological environment to help create a natural sustainable farm. It is also interesting how many farms may not be 'organically certified', but practice natural organic methods to grow our coffee. There are many conscientious farmers that would rather allow a small bird kill a bug than a buy a pesticide to take care of it.

So if you love coffee, you love the Black-throated Blue Warblers. These little guys save millions of coffee cherries each season.

Matthew Kellso
Matthew Kellso


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