Guam – Researchers on Guam have employed pheromone-baited bucket traps, canines to sniff out breeding sites, acoustic detection technology, and a biocontrol virus to eradicate the coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) on Guam with the beetles showing a high rate of resistance to these tactics. USDA has given Guam an infusion of cash to assist in efforts to contain the rhino beetle population on island. Aubrey Moore, entomologist and researcher with the University of Guam, recently received a grant for $205,500 from USDA APHIS and $200,000 from USDA Forest Service for the control of the seemingly invincible rhino beetle.
These grants come at a critical time for Guam’s coconut trees, as biocontrol measures to control this invasive species have not been successful to date. “The biocontrol virus released in June 2010 has failed to have the desired effect of suppressing the population. We are not sure if the rhino beetles on Guam are resistant to the strain of virus released or whether there was a problem with the virus itself and we are currently trying to determine the reason for the failure,” says Moore.
Moore’s CRB work is extremely important and timely as the beetle, which was once limited to the northwest coast of the island is now found all over northern and central Guam. “The number of beetles caught in bucket traps has leveled off but we are still in need of finding a biocontrol agent to control these invasive beetles,” says Moore.
To report any sightings of rhino beetles or rhino beetle damage please call 475-1426.