Troubling new developments unfold in war against invasive pest - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Troubling new developments unfold in war against invasive pest

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles (CRB) have been captured in new areas around O'ahu.

The latest detection was Tuesday afternoon at Ke'ehi Lagoon Park.

So are we losing the war against them?

The battle against the CRB began right before Christmas.

Now it has spread from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to other areas outside the base.

They're a threat to an iconic image of Hawaii because the tiny pests have a voracious appetite for  palm trees.  

"The adult beetle will bore into the crowns of coconut trees and if enough damage is done to the coconut tree, it can actually kill the tree," said Darcy Oishi, Hawaii State Plant Quarantine Manager.

Efforts to eradicate the pests are increasing.

In fact, traps have popped up all around the island.

Between April 12th and April 25th, surveyors found 26 adults beetles. All but two were at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. One was found at Iroquois Point, the other at Ke'ehi Lagoon Park.

"That number of detections since we started the program is actually an indicator that we're doing a pretty good job on containing the problem," Oishi said.

The origin of the Rhino beetle still remains a mystery.

Oishi says trying to control population and eventually eradicate the pests is priority.

"This is gonna be a long project, it's gonna be a three year project once we eliminate all the breeding sights that we know of to monitor and make sure there are no beetles," he said.

State quarantine officials say it's too early to say if the beetles are here to stay.

If you see the beetle or traps that have fallen, you are asked to call the pest hotline at (808) 643-PEST.

 

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