February 7, 2016 | 75° | Check Traffic

Hawaii News

Coqui frog battle switches from eradication to control

  • The Oahu Invasive Species Committee is organizing a night vigil to detect and report on the presence of coqui frogs through smartphones.

    The Oahu Invasive Species Committee is organizing a night vigil to detect and report on the presence of coqui frogs through smartphones.

HILO >> Coqui frogs have taken over some areas of Hawaii island since they were accidentally introduced more than two decades ago, officials said.

The state Department of Agriculture’s plant quarantine branch isn’t even battling the frogs anymore because the problem is too widespread, agency official Clayton Nagata told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in a story Sunday. However, Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said people haven’t given up on controlling the frogs.

“They’ve given up on trying to eradicate the coqui frogs because it’s unlikely that they will ever be eradicated from the Big Island,” she said.

Residents, volunteers and members of the Big Island Invasive Species Committee are working to control the spread of coqui frogs from the east side of the island to the west side. They also spray the frogs with citric acid and capture them by hand to control their presence in certain neighborhoods.

Bill Mautz, professor and chairman of the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s Biology Department, said there aren’t any good predators that can be introduced to control the frogs.

He advises homeowners to remove plants, shrub and dense vegetation that provide havens for the frogs.

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