July 22, 2018
Home < Coffee Berry Borer < Coffee Berry Borer, Black Twig Borer or Tropical Nut Borer

Coffee Berry Borer, Black Twig Borer or Tropical Nut Borer

So, you think your CBB trap is full of CBB? Well, think again! Even with magnification, distinguishing CBB (Coffee Berry Borer)  from BTB (Black Twig Borer), and even TNB (Tropical Nut Borer) is difficult.
A standard low-power microscope (2-3x) is not sufficient to determine whether the hairs on the back of your beetle are short and stubby, slightly flattened, or slightly elongated. A good quality, high-power (5-15x) microscope is needed to observe these subtle differences.

True or False: The Methanol/Ethanol lure sold to trap CBB catches tons of CBB.
Correct answer: Both true and false, without high magnification it is nearly impossible to tell if your trap catch is CBB, BTB, TNB, or any of hundreds of other insects that are attracted to the very general lure. Your trap may be full of CBB, or it may be full of TNB, or it may be full of something else, without a good quality high-power (5-15x) microscope, you can’t tell.

I’m using the Methanol/Ethanol CBB lure, but how can I tell if it is actually catching CBB and not BTB or TNB?
Rob Curtiss (HDOA),the Kona entomologist says you can’t tell without a good microscope with an objective power of 5-15x.


  1. Can someone recommend a good inexpensive 5-15X microscope?

    • I asked Rob Curtiss the Kona HDOA entomologist and he replied: Microscopes good enough to see these differences (it is not always the magnification as much as the quality of the optics) can be very expensive, like in the greater than 10K range. There are some affordable microscopes on the Wards scientific website, but most of the brands I have never heard of, so I can’t comment on whether or not they are good enough. Also to be clearer, the zoom magnification should be 5-10x, and the objectives at least 10x for a total magnification of 50-100x.

      Rob also sent over a .pdf of the differences under a microscope, of the 3 beetles which I will post now on the website. Photo entitled: how to know Scolytids found in Coffee berries


      • Cea

        Thanks for your response. It sounds like the microscope approach is not feasible for us farmers. I wonder if taking a digital photo and enlarging it might work. I will try to do that and report back.


  2. THX for posting this great picture comparison! I had just send Rob a few scolytids which swarmed around a light source one particular night only.

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