In October, a concerned Waikōloa resident reported five grubs that she found in a decaying palm stump on her property. The grubs were sent out for DNA analysis and confirmed by the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture as coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros). This marks the first time CRB has been detected on our island, and it’s crucial for residents to be informed about their potential impacts and what they can do to take action.
Why It Matters: Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles pose a significant threat to our island, as they feed on the sap of coconut, royal, and date palms, sometimes inflicting enough damage to kill trees. The beetle is not host-specific and if its primary food sources are unavailable, it can shift to feed on other palms and important plants, such as hala, banana, sugarcane, kalo, and pineapple. Early detection is key to preventing the spread of these destructive beetles.
What to Look For: While the beetles themselves are quite hard to miss, we want you to keep an eye out for their grubs. Since CRB breed in organic material, it’s easy to transport them unknowingly. Find the grubs before they turn into adults! We urge you to be vigilant and inspect your soil and mulch for beetle grubs. Early identification can help us take swift action to mitigate their impact.
What you can do:
- Inspect Your Mulch and Potting Media: Regularly check your garden, landscaping, and potted plants for signs of CRB grubs. Check bagged mulch for visible damage or chew holes (this is how CRB is spreading on Oʻahu)
- Report Suspected Sightings: If you suspect you’ve found CRB grubs, adult beetles, or palm damage, report it immediately to BIISC. Take clear photos and report them using this form.
- Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest info about CRB. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook and share this information with your neighbors and community.
Remember: Early detection and a rapid response makes ALL the difference.