POSTED: 9:07 p.m. HST, May 28, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 9:07 p.m. HST, May 28, 2014
An alien invader that threatens Hawaii's iconic coconut palms appears to be spreading on Oahu and may have established a breeding population, state officials say.
Coconut rhinoceros beetles, popular as pets with the Japanese, appear to have moved west on Oahu within the past six weeks, prompting the state to expand the buffer zone from the original infestation site to a 50-square-mile area.
An eradication crew found a male coconut rhinoceros beetle May 21 in a trap in an industrial area of Barbers Point, the farthest west any of his fellow beetles have been found from the original detection site at the golf course on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
"I think this is more related to the expansion from the existing infestation," state Department of Agriculture acting Plant Quarantine manager Darcy Oishi said Wednesday.