State scrambles to eradicate coqui frogs found on Oahu

Published: Aug. 16, 2019 at 6:52 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - In less than two months, 16 coqui frogs have been found in Palolo Valley ― the largest population found on Oahu so far.

The invasive species, known for it’s annoyingly loud whistle, has already saturated areas of Hawaii and Maui counties.

The frogs have been found sporadically on Oahu, but Palolo Valley has produced a cluster of coqui this summer after heavy rains.

Coqui frog recovered from Palolo Valley this summer
Coqui frog recovered from Palolo Valley this summer

“It’s been a challenge,” says David Lingenfelser, with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. “The valley these frogs are in is extremely steep.”

Because the frogs only whistle at night, crews have had to work over time hours to track them.

“We try to pinpoint them based on their call,” says Lingenfelser.

“We prefer to hand capture them, that’s actually the most effective method of catching them, but if the population gets too big, we try to do some spraying with citric acid.”

DOA sprayed in Palolo Valley and believe the population is close to being under control. Crews went out Wednesday night and did not hear any whistles.

The coqui’s unique sound can reach up to 90 decibels.

The most common way the frogs get to Oahu, hitchhiking in cargo from the Big Island. Many have been found near nurseries.

If you hear the signature sound of a coqui frog, call 643-PEST to reach the DOA.

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