Kauai Residents Asked to Check Compost and Green Waste for Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles

Posted on Jun 8, 2023 in Main

June 8, 2023

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is asking Kaua‘i residents to check their compost bins and green waste for the coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) and its larvae after two beetles were found on the island. Early detection of CRB populations is key to eradication of this serious pest of palm trees, primarily coconut palms. Breeding grounds for CRB include trees, green waste, compost, mulch, trimmings, fruit and vegetation scraps and decaying stumps of palm and palm-related plants.

During routine surveillance by the Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee (KISC) a live CRB was found in a trap on May 31 near the green waste transfer station close to Līhu‘e Airport. A second beetle was found dead in another nearby trap on June 2 in the same area. HDOA entomologists have confirmed that the two beetles were females. These are the first detections of CRB (Oryctes rhinoceros) outside of O‘ahu.

Members of HDOA’s Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Response Team on O‘ahu have been deployed to Kaua‘i to assist KISC and other partner agencies in conducting surveys to determine the extent of any infestation and to begin appropriate eradication measures if necessary. Green waste fumigation equipment is being sent via barge to Kaua‘i to treat green waste if CRB infestations are detected.

The County of Kaua‘i has closed the green waste facility at the Līhu‘e Transfer Station until further notice to assist in the surveying of the area.

“It’s critical that we catch any possible breeding areas immediately to try and stop the beetle’s spread on Kaua‘i,” said Sharon Hurd, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. “We need everyone’s eyes to look out for possible infestation sites and to report it.”

The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) implemented an Incident Command Structure since CRB was first detected on O‘ahu in 2013 and will expand the use of the incident management system for the situation on Kaua‘i, with additional staffing from KISC. Partner agencies include KISC, the University of Hawai‘i, the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation and the County of Kaua‘i.

The response plan for Kaua‘i includes:

  • Conducting visual surveys within a one-mile buffer zone of the first detections
  • Deployment of additional traps at 25 priority sites, including the use of cameras and ultraviolet traps
  • Possible fumigation of green waste at the transfer station
  • Possible deployment of CRB-detector dogs after initial surveys by the response team
  • Review of the possible pathways of introduction of CRB to uninfested areas\

Surveillance for CRB has been ongoing on all neighbor islands, including Kaua‘i, where pheromone traps have been used for more than five years in strategic locations at Nāwiliwili Harbor and Līhu‘e Airport. The traps are used for early detection of CRB infestations. More than 3,000 CRB traps have been deployed around O‘ahu to track infestation areas.

CRBs were first detected in Hawai‘i in Dec. 2013 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and have since been detected around O‘ahu. There had been no detections of CRB on islands other than O‘ahu, until now.

It is a major pest of palms in India, the Philippines, Palau, Fiji, Wallis, Nukunono, American and Western Samoa and Guam. It is still not known exactly how the beetles arrived in Hawai‘i.

Reports of possible CRB infestation may be addressed to the CRB Response Team at (808) 679-5244 or email [email protected] or the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at (808) 643-PEST (7378).

A flyer for CRB detection on Kaua‘i is available at: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/CRB-Kauai-Flyer2.pdf

For more information on CRB go to CRB Response webpage: https://www.crbhawaii.org/

Or the HDOA Plant Pest Control Branch New Pest Advisory: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/npa-CRB-5-1-14.pdf