Antestiopsis is a genus of shield bug, commonly known as antestia and the variegated coffee bug. Several species in eastern Africa are pests of coffee plants, giving the coffee beans a distinctive 'potato taste', which is thought to be caused indirectly by bacteria entering through wounds created by the insects, leading to an increase in the concentration of isopropyl methoxy pyrazine.[1][2] They feed on flowers, berries and growing tips, injecting a toxic saliva that often contains the spores of the Ashbya fungus, and then suck juices out.[3]

Antestiopsis thunbergii 2.jpg
Antestiopsis thunbergii in South Africa
Scientific classification

Leston, 1952
The underside of an unidentified Antestiopsis
The eggs of an unidentified Antestiopsis
Antestiopsis thunbergii dorsal view of adult - the coloration of the species is very variable, but the general pattern is fairly consistent, e.g. the three conspicuous spots, one on the pronotum and two on the scutellum.
An antestia bug on a coffee tree


Species include:


Throughout history, Antestiopsis was controlled in Kenya using pyrethrum powder.[4]

The organophosphate fenthion has been used to control the pest in Burundi.[1]

Laboratory experiments have found the essential oils of Thymus vulgaris, Ruta chalepensis and Chenopodium ambrosioides cause around 90% mortality in Antestiopsis.[5]


  1. ^ a b B. Bouyjou, B. Decazy & G. Fourny. "L'élimination du " goût de pomme de terre " dans le café Arabica du Burundi" [Removing the "potato taste" from Burundian Arabica]. Plantations, Recherche, Développement (in French). 6 (2): 107–115.
  2. ^ Czerny, M.; Grosch, W. (2000). "Potent Odorants of Raw Arabica Coffee. Their Changes during Roasting". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 48 (3): 868–872. doi:10.1021/jf990609n. PMID 10725165.
  3. ^ Jean Nicholas Wintgens (2009). "Coffee Pests in Africa". Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production (2nd ed.). pp. 433–435. ISBN 978-3-527-32286-2.
  4. ^ Crowe, T. J.; Jones, G. D. Glynne; Williamson, Ruth (2009). "The use of pyrethrum formulations to control Antestiopsis on coffee in East Africa". Bulletin of Entomological Research. 52: 31. doi:10.1017/S0007485300055267.
  5. ^ Mendesil, Esayas; Tadesse, Mekuria; Negash, Merid (2011). "Efficacy of plant essential oils against two major insect pests of coffee (Coffee berry borer,Hypothenemus hampei, and antestia bug,Antestiopsis intricata) and maize weevil,Sitophilus zeamais". Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection: 1. doi:10.1080/03235408.2011.587286.

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