Guam Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Eradication Plan

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NOTE: THIS IS A DRAFT. PLANS MAY CHANGE RADICALLY.

Introduction

Coconut rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros

The coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB), Oryctes rhinoceros, was first detected on Guam in the Tumon Bay on September 12, 2007. This large scarab beetle is a serious pest of palm trees, including coconut and betelnut, and also Pandanus. Adult CRB damage palms by boring into the center of the crown, where they injure the young, growing tissues and feed on the exuded sap. As they bore into the crown, they cut through developing leaves. When the leaves grow out and unfold, the damage appears as V-shaped cuts in the fronds or holes through the midrib. Adult feeding damage to young palms is often lethal, either through direct injury to the growing tip or from secondary infections of bacteria and fungi. Immature stages (eggs, grubs, and pupae) are found in dead coconuts and piles of rotting vegetation such as sawdust and leaf litter.

CRB is endemic in much of southeast Asia, including the Philippines. It has been accidentally introduced and established as a pest on the Pacific islands of Palau, Fiji and Samoa. Coconut palm mortality reached 50% following the initial outbreak of CRB in Palau after its introduction in 1942.

A survey is being conducted by the University of Guam and the Guam Department of Agriculture to determine the extent of the infestation. To date, damage symptoms have been seen only at Tumon Bay (estimated infested area = 960 acres) and Faifai Beach (estimated infested area = 15 acres). Adults and grubs have been collected only from Tumon Bay. An eradication program with the objective of eliminating of all live adults and immatures on Guam is likely to succeed if it is launched before the infestation spreads to other areas of the island. The proposed eradication project will eliminate adults by mass trapping and immatures by removal of breeding sites. The project can be accomplished without the use of insecticides.

Detailed information on CRB and the infestation on Guam can be found at http://www.guaminsects.net/uogces/kbwiki/index.php?title=Oryctes_rhinoceros.

Eradication of Adults by Mass Trapping

A commercially available chemical lure for CRB can be used to trap both sexes of adults. Traps are made by placing a lure at the center of a baffle which is placed in a bucket. Flying beetles are attracted to the lure, strike the baffle and fall into the bucket. The baffle prevents them from flying out of the bucket. Bucket traps are hung from trees or other supports at two to three meters above the ground. For CRB eradication programs, the recommended density of traps is one per acre.

We plan to remove beetles from traps every second week, and replace lures every tenth week. Live beetles will be killed before removal from the infestation area. Trap catch data will be used to monitor progress of the project. Mass trapping will continue for two years. Thereafter, a small number of traps will be maintained to detect reinfestation.

Eradication of Immatures by Sanitation

The great majority of CRB immatures are found in dead and decaying coconut logs, either standing or fallen. Alternate breeding sites include piles of rotting vegetation such as sawdust or leaf litter. The objective of this part of the project is to remove all breeding sites from the infested area. To eliminate the risk of transport to other parts of the island, no breeding site material will be removed from the infested area. In Tumon Bay, breeding site material will be turned into compost. At Faifai Beach, breeding site material will be burned. It is anticipated that clean up operations can be completed within six months and the composting operation can be completed within 12 months.

Tumon Bay

In Tumon Bay, all dead coconuts will be chipped and composted. Work crews will fell standing dead coconuts and use chain saws to buck trunks into short lengths that can be carried to a roll-off container placed at the nearest road access. Roll-off containers will be hauled to a composting site within the infestation area. At this site, logs will be run through a chipper and composted. The chipper will kill most grubs and pupae and any surviving eggs or grubs will be killed by heat generated during composting. A local landscape maintenance company which services major hotels in Tumon Bay has offered to provide equipment and manpower for the removal and chipping operations and Dr. Golabi, the soil scientist from the University of Guam has offered equipment and expertise for running the composting operation.

Alternate breeding sites, such as piles of rotting vegetation, will be physically inspected for CRB grubs. If grubs are found, the rotting vegetation will be hauled off for composting with the coconut logs.

Faifai Beach

Because there is no road access to Faifai Beach, all dead coconuts will be removed from the jungle and burned on the beach.

Timeline

  • Month 1 - Secure funding; hire project manager; meet with Guam Visitor Bureau, Hotel Association, community groups, etc., inform public; procure lures; build traps; select composting site and apply for permits; complete delimiting survey; start Faifai Beach area clean-up
  • Month 2 - Complete Faifai Beach area clean-up; start mass trapping program; prepare composting site; start Tumon Bay area clean-up
  • Month 3 - Continue Tumon Bay area clean-up; continue mass trapping
  • Month 4 - Continue Tumon Bay area clean-up; continue mass trapping
  • Month 5 - Continue Tumon Bay area clean-up; continue mass trapping
  • Month 6 - Complete Tumon Bay area clean-up; continue mass trapping
  • Month 7 - Continue composting operation; continue mass trapping
  • Month 8 - Continue composting operation; continue mass trapping
  • Month 9 - Continue composting operation; continue mass trapping
  • Month 10 - Continue composting operation; continue mass trapping
  • Month 11 - Continue composting operation; continue mass trapping
  • Month 12 - Complete composting operation; continue mass trapping
  • Months 13 through 24 - Continue mass trapping

Cost Estimates

Project Management TOTAL: $50,000

  • Project manager
    • 1 year contract: $50,000

Mass Trapping Program TOTAL: $104,540

  • Labor for trap servicing and data management
    • Student employees @$9.00 per hour * 40 hours per week * 104 weeks = $37,440
  • Materials for trap construction
    • $12.00 per trap * 2,000 traps = $24,000
      • 1,000 trap sites are required. However, a replacement rate of 50% per year is estimated to mitigate losses from vandalism and typhoons.
  • Lures
    • $4.00 each * 1,000 trap sites * 5 recharges per year * 2 years = $40,000
  • Fuel
    • $35.00 per week * 104 weeks = $3,100

Sanitation/Composting Program TOTAL: $84,480

  • Labor for clean-up operation
    • 4 laborers @ $7.00 per hour plus foreman @ $9.00 per hour * 40 hours per week * 26 weeks = $38,480
  • Permit fees
    • $2,000
  • Equipment rental/purchase/maintenance
    • $40,000
  • Fuel and oil
    • $4,000

PROJECT TOTAL: $239,020