Dead coconut rhinoceros beetle found in compost bag prompts product quarantine

The size of the invasive pest compared to a penny.
The size of the invasive pest compared to a penny.(HDOA)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 2:08 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 8:20 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An invasive pest has been found in compost bags on Maui, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

A single dead coconut rhinoceros beetle was found Monday at a Maui big-box sore by state agriculture department officials during routine surveys.

One of the indicators the pest was present was a hole in one of the compost bags. Upon further inspection, the beetle was found and 15 pallets of the bagged compost were sent back to Oahu, where the product came from.

So far, there have been no live beetles found on the Valley Isle.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the retailers, distributors and manufacturers in helping to contain the situation and prevent the spread of CRB in the state,” said Dexter Kishida, deputy to the HDOA Chairperson. “The Department of Agriculture continues to work with mulch and compost companies on Oahu to prevent the movement of the beetle to uninfested areas.”

The beetles pose a serious threat to palm trees, primarily coconut palms.

Immediately after the discovery on Maui, officials on were sent to other retailers on Maui and Hawaii Island, and pallets of the compost bags from the same company were also quarantined. They will be shipped back to Oahu. Kauai is also monitoring their supply.

Anyone who recently bought the locally produced compost on Maui can return the product to the store, or drop it off at Maui plant quarantine offices at:

  • 635 Mua Street, in Kahului. Monday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Maui Plant Quarantine Inspection Office, Kahului Airport (next to the Aloha Air Cargo Office on Haleakala Hwy.), every day from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“If the product is not in a returnable state, each bag of the product may be double-bagged and sealed in dark-colored, heavy-duty plastic bags. The sealed bags should be placed on a concrete slab or asphalt that gets direct sunlight for five consecutive days,” the HDOA added.

CRB was first found in Hawaii in Dec. 2013 on Oahu and the pest has gradually spread from Central and West Oahu to the North Shore and the windward side.

A live one was found on Kauai in May of this year.

Anyone who suspects an infestation of the insect is asked to report it by calling the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at (808) 643-PEST (7378), or emailing

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced the discovery of the coconut rhinoceros beetle but it was supposed to be the state Department of Agriculture, who had sent out the press release