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Destructive coconut rhinoceros beetles found on Pearl City farm

  • COURTESY MARK SCHMAEDICK / AMERICAN SAMOA COMMUNITY COLLEGE

    The coconut rhinoceros beetle has been found on the Pearl City peninsula.

State crews have discovered an infestation of coconut rhinoceros beetles at a farm on the Pearl City peninsula.

The Department of Agriculture said today that about 206 larvae and two male adult beetles were discovered at the farm on Waiawa Road Monday. Crews spotted the infestation after they conducted routine surveillance and observed a few larvae in a mulch pile.

After Monday’s discovery, the state expanded surveillance of the pests to the Pearl Harbor Bike Path from the H-1 freeway and between Lehua Avenue and Leeward Community College.

Coconut rhinoceros beetles were first detected on Oahu in December 2013 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

There are about 3,000 traps, which resemble hanging lanterns, set up throughout the island. So far, the beetles have not been detected on the neighbor islands.

The pests are known to kill palm trees when they bore into the center of the crown of developing leaves and feed on the sap. It also attacks banana, taro, pineapple and sugar cane. Larvae are typically found in mulch and compost.

Crews will be wearing Agriculture Department badges during their surveillance of designated areas.

For information on the survey, call the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Response Headquarters at 832-0585.

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