The Yellow Warbler: Coffee's New Superhero | Blog

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For years, scientists and coffee farmers have dealt with the issue of native borer beetle infestations on their crops.

Borer beetles chew their way through the center of the coffee cherry and back out again, completely destroying the fruit. This newer infestation, which began in Costa Rica in 2010, has both intrigued and troubled biologists who have since been looking for a way to combat the bugs. Stanford biologists have teamed up with Costa Rican coffee growers and devised a way to lessen the beetle migrations, without the use of pesticides.

Enter the yellow warbler, the beetle’s natural enemy. Studies of one Costa Rican coffee farm have led researchers to believe that allowing for a close patch of natural land, laden with trees will best increase chances for outsmarting the swarm.

Yellow warblers are more likely to flock to areas where they will have protection and places to nest and roost in trees. This natural, and sustainable form of pest management is also a great way to preserve the ever-threatened rain forests of Costa Rica.

If the trees are essential to the pest control, they will be less likely to be cut down and used for other purposes. Five species of birds, including the warbler, were responsible for halving the damage done by the beetles in previous years. To put it simply, the bird is the word.

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