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Mount Holyoke College

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Program Name

Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation


Today coffee has become one of the most popular beverages in the world and is cultivated in many countries. However, in recent years many areas of production, for example in the province of Loja, Ecuador in the valley of Vilcabamba, many are experiencing a threat in the form of a small Coleoptera species. Hypothenemus hampei, also known as la broca de café, passes the majority of its life cycle within the coffee berries and in the process of reproduction and colonization it destroys the bean that makes the beverage. This destruction of the bean no only affects the consumer, but all the coffee growers that depend on the success of their coffee crop for the livelihood so much that they may turn to pesticides as a fast and efficient solution. This study attempted to continue to develop the use of biological pest control in the form of Beauveria bassiana, a fungus that attacks la broca and can be cultivated in a laboratory and applied to the coffee plants. With the support of La Fundación Colinas Verdes, a comparison between two garden plots was done on a farm with la broca, one garden with application and one without to determine if B. bassiana affects la population of H. hampei. It was found that the population of H. hampei in the garden with application of B. bassiana decreased by four percent in a eleven-day duration, while the percentage in the garden without the application did not change. In addition, another experiment demonstrated the effectiveness of the B. bassiana cultivating method and it is important to follow up on other methods de diminish the contamination in the cultivating process by other fungi. Although this study found proper results, since this one was only completed in one month, more studies are necessary.


Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy


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