Mulch Piles May Breed Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 in Main

Oahu Residents Asked to Check Mulch and Green Waste

Feb. 18, 2015

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is renewing its request for Oahu residents to check their mulch piles for possible breeding populations of the coconut rhinoceros beetles (CRB).  HDOA has been concentrating efforts on detecting and destroying (CRB) infestations on Oahu since it was detected in December 2013 in Joint Base Pearl Harbor – Hickam (JBPHH).

Trapping efforts in December 2014 found a single beetle in the Nanakuli area on Paakea Rd. and in late January 2015 another single beetle was found less than a mile away on Anahea St.

Following the January detection, crews have been surveying the military property in Lualualei but have not located any CRB breeding sites.  HDOA is asking residents from Nanakuli Ave. to Lualualei Homestead Rd. to assist in locating possible breeding sites. Residents may call 679-5244 or the State’s Pest Hotline 643-PEST (7378) to allow crews to survey any mulch, green waste, manure and compost piles that they may have on their property.

“Our entomologists suspect that cooler weather has helped to keep the CRB numbers down,” said Scott Enright, chairperson for the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “However, with warmer weather arriving, it is crucial that Oahu residents help us eliminate all potential breeding areas before populations begin to rise.”

Adult CRB are dark brown in color and measure 1 ¼ to 2 ½ inches long. CRB larvae are white in color with a brown head and up to three inches long.  (See photos attached)

CRB is capable of killing all palm species and has been found attacking banana, taro, pineapple and sugarcane. The grubs live exclusively in decaying plant material such as green waste, mulch, compost and manure.  Residents on the entire island of Oahu are urged not to move any green waste or mulch from any location as CRB do not move long distances on its own, but may be transported by humans.

So far, CRB crews have placed more than 2, 700 panel traps and 90 barrel traps all over Oahu to keep tabs on any movement of CRB.  They have surveyed almost 140,000 palms and surveyed almost 300 mulch piles. About 130 dead or damaged palm trees have been removed.

About 1,400 adult CRB, 1,600 larvae and 40 pupae have been found.

The CRB team has been headquartered at HDOA, but include personnel from many agencies, including U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Navy and Air Force, Hawaii National Guard, the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, Oahu Invasive Species Committee, Department of Land and Natural Resources, University of Hawaii – College of Tropical Agriculture.

More information and photos of CRB on HDOA’s CRB Information webpage