The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle bores holes into the young, upper fronds of coconut palm trees. They drink the sap that is released by cutting through the soft plant tissue. This damage reduces coconut production and could possibly kill younger trees. They are also pests on a variety of other plants: pineapples, bananas, papayas, dates and taro. Larvae feed on mulch and plant debris. The yellowish grubs are large, growing up to 4 inches long. The larger horns on adults are seen on males while females have smaller, shorter horns.
The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle is native to Asia, but migrated to the Pacific Island of Guam sometime in 2007. It has done significant damage to coconut tree populations there. The beetle has now been found on the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii. Exactly how the beetle arrived on the island is still unclear. Efforts to find, control and, hopefully, eradicate it from the island are now underway. Other Pacific islands infested with the exotic beetle have used deliberate fungal and viral infections to kill adults and stop breeding. Lures and a pest hotline for reporting infestations are a step toward eliminating this destructive pest.
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