Review Category : Current Research

UH Focuses Research Efforts to Crush the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle in Hawai’i

by Keith Weiser, Ph.D. Something has been munching on Oahu’s palm trees and UH researchers are testing some innovative approaches to stop it. The coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) AKA CRB was found on Oahu for the first time in December of 2013 and a multi-agency response has been combating the invasive insect to eradicate it from Hawai’i. This native of Southeast Asia lays eggs in decaying plant material like mulch or compost and the eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the decaying material. After growing and feeding for several months, the ~3 inch long white larvae go through metamorphosis to become adult beetles. The adults are ~2 inch black beetles with a distinctive horn on their head. The adults emerge at night and fly to palm trees to feed. Coconut trees (Cocos nucifera) are their favorites but they will feed on a variety of palms and other plants including date palms (Phoenix sp.), native Hawaiian palms (Pritchardia sp.), sugar cane (Saccharum sp.), and many common landscaping palms. When... ...

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