Parts of Wailua Municipal Golf Course in Lihue will be closed next week while drones are used to apply a pesticide to the tops of coconut palms in an effort to eradicate an infestation of coconut rhinoceros beetles.
The state Department of Agriculture and University of Hawaii researchers will be conducting drone-based treatment of palms at the golf course next Monday to Thursday using the pesticide, Cypermethrin, also known as Demon Max.
So far, 31 adult coconut rhinoceros beetles have been found in traps at the golf course.
The state Agriculture Department said the front nine holes will be closed from Oct. 9 to 11, while the back nine holes will be closed from Oct. 12 to 13.
The goal is to treat about 20% of the approximately 580 coconut palm trees at the site with Cypermethrin. Palm trees on the property range from 60 to 90 feet tall.
“With the extreme height of the palm trees, overhead pesticide treatment is the best way to reach the crowns of the palms where the CRB bore into the trees,” said Sharon Hurd, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, in a news release. “The drones also provide a more targeted and efficient application of the pesticide rather than widespread spraying.”
UH researchers Dan Jenkins and Mohsen Paryavi have been developing the drone-based treatment on Oahu and will be piloting the drones on Kauai. HDOA will also fly in staff from Oahu and Hawaii island to assist with the treatment.
The invasive coconut rhinoceros beetles were first detected in Hawaii in December 2013 on Oahu, then detected near Lihue Airport on Kauai in late May of this year.
Since then, 82 traps have been deployed around Kauai, and the beetles have been found in traps at the golf course as well as at a green waste facility in Lihue. Beetle larvae have been found at Kilauea and Nukolii Beach Park.
The coconut rhinoceros beetle is a serious pest of palm trees, damaging or killing them by boring into their crowns to feed on sap. Approximately 10% to 50% of palms die after a coconut rhinoceros beetle attack.
To report possible CRB infestations, call the state’s toll-free pest hotline at 808-643-PEST (7378).
For more detailed golf course schedules, contact the Wailua municipal golf course at 808-241-6666 or visit www.kauai.gov/parks.