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  • Writer's pictureHawai'i House Democrats

STATE AND COUNTY LEGISLATORS TO HOST COMMUNITY MEETING ADDRESSING STATEWIDE INFESTATION OF THE COCONUT RHINOCEROS BEETLE

On Tuesday, State and county legislators from the Kalihi-Kapālama area will host a community meeting regarding Hawaiʻi’s growing Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) infestation. The meeting will include a presentation by the CRB response team and a question-and-answer portion with the legislators in attendance.


WHAT:          Community Meeting: Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

 

WHEN:          Tuesday, May 14, 2024 at 6:00 p.m.

 

WHERE:       Kapālama Elementary School

                        1601 N. School Street

 

WHO:            

State Senator Donna Mercado Kim

State Representative Sonny Ganaden

State Representative May Mizuno

City Councilmember Radiant Cordero

City Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam


Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles pose a substantial threat to Hawaiʻi’s local environment. Measuring up to 2.5 inches in length (roughly a third of the length of your hand) and identifiable by their distinctive “horn,” CRBs bore into the crowns of palm trees to feed on their sap. In doing so, they leave large boreholes that severely damage or kill young trees and weaken older ones, leaving them susceptible to disease.

 

“These pests hurt our economy, our agriculture, and – most importantly – our island’s fragile ecosystem. Unfortunately, it’s only getting worse. In the last year, the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle has spread from Oʻahu to each of our other counties,” said Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam. “If we’re going to change course, we have to be more diligent about this issue. That starts with spreading more awareness. Our communities need to know why these pests are a problem and how we can stop them.”

 

"Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles are one of many invasive species that are causing severe economic and ecological damage to Hawaiʻi. It is up to all of us to stop the spread of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles, and we must all learn how to identify, prevent, and deal with them to protect Hawaiʻi.”

 

The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) was first detected in Hawaiʻi in December 2013, near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Oahu. It has since spread to Kauaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island – in May 2023, September 2023, and October 2023, respectively.

 

“Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles are one of many invasive species that are causing severe economic and ecological damage to Hawaiʻi. It is up to all of us to stop the spread of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles, and we must all learn how to identify, prevent, and deal with them to protect Hawaiʻi,” said Senator Donna Mercado Kim.

 

“There is an urgent need to protect our environment against invasive pests that endanger Hawaiʻi's native species and communities,” said Representative May Mizuno. “Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles are inflicting damage on our natural resources and environment and the Legislature remains committed to addressing this growing issue.”

 

“I'm learning more about how this latest invasive species is devastating palms across the islands. As federal rules regarding soil imports and other measures are being adopted there are limited options to get in front of this. There are additional issues around invasive species that I'm continuing to be educated about including octocoral, albizia, and more,” said Representative Sonny Ganaden.

 

CRBs live and breed in compost, palm waste, and mulch. Accordingly, to prevent the spread of the beetle, the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council and the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Response recommend a number of measures, including regularly using green waste bins and grinding plant waste.

 

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