Movement of Palms, Logs, and Rotting Vegetation from Tumon Bay Area May Prevent Planned Eradication of the Coconut Rhinocerus Beetle, a Major Pest of Palms
Friday, September 28, 2007 Mangilao, Guam
Advisory to Landscapers, Businesses, and Residents of Tumon:
Movement of Palms, Logs, and Rotting Vegetation from Tumon Bay Area May Prevent Planned Eradication of the Coconut Rhinocerus Beetle, a Major Pest of Palms An infestation of the coconut rhinoceros beetle was detected in Tumon about two weeks ago. This is a very large beetle which damages palms by boring into fronds before they open. When the fronds do open, they appear to have triangular sections cut out of them. Severe attacks by rhino beetles may result in the death of coconut palms. Immature beetles, referred to as grubs, feed on decaying logs and other plant material. They especially like to feed inside dead coconuts which are still standing.
An island wide survey indicates that the beetle is currently found only in the Tumon Bay and Faifai Beach areas. An eradication program is being planned by Dr. Aubrey Moore, an entomologist at the University of Guam. The objective is to kill all coconut rhinoceros beetles before the infestation spreads to other parts of the island. Eradication may not be possible if the infestation spreads.
To prevent accidental transport to other parts of the island, the general public is asked to refrain from removing live palms and decaying logs and other vegetation from the Tumon area.
During the planned eradication program, grubs will be controlled by removal of breeding sites such as coconut stumps and rotting vegetation from the Tumon Bay area. At the same time, adult beetles will be trapped using a powerful attractant called an aggregation pheromone. The rhino beetle population can be wiped out without the use of pesticides.
The public is asked to help in this effort by doing the following:
- If you find a rhinoceros beetle adult or grub outside of the Tumon area, please report it to the Plant Inspection Station at 475-1427. The adult is a very large beetle with a horn on the top of its head, and the grubs white, C-shaped, and have pink dots on their sides. Fact sheets and images of the coconut rhinoceros beetle and the damage it causes can be found online at:
- To prevent moving beetle eggs, grubs, and adults to other parts of the island, do not remove live palms and dead or rotting plant material from Tumon Bay.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Aubrey Moore, Ph.D. Entomologist College of Natural & Applied Sciences University of Guam 303 University Dr. Mangilao, Guam 96923, USA Telephone (office): (671) 735-2086 Telephone (lab): (671) 735-2141 Telephone (home): (671) 653-5151 Telephone (cell): (671) 686-5664 Fax: (671) 734-4600