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Invasive mite threatens historic Molokai coconut grove

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WAILUKU >> A pest known as the coconut mite was recently found on Molokai, threatening the island’s historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove.

The Maui News reports the Molokai branch of the Maui Invasive Species Committee collected fruit and leaf samples from the grove for testing, which revealed not only the presence of coconut mites, but also other pests like the coconut scale, a weevil, white flies and other hard scales.

MoMISC coordinator Lori Buchanansays the mites, formally known as Aceria guerreronis Keifer, are the first invasive species to have been discovered on Molokai. They were first found on Maui in 1991.

President of the Kalama’ula Homestead Association Gayla Haliniak-Lloyd says some of the coconut trees in the grove are more than a century old, planted by King Kamehameha V in the 1860s.

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