Mayors join fight in Rhino beetle Eradication - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Mayors join fight in Rhino beetle Eradication

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - The fight against the invasive rhinoceros beetle species continues as our Island's Mayors are joining in the efforts at the community level. Rhino Beetle Eradication team leader Roland Quitigua met with the Mayor's Council to share what they can do in their villages, how they can implement a rhino beetle eradication program and dispelled misconceptions about coconut trees which have been attacked by the invasive species. Quitigua has been leading the efforts in developing traps and lures and says while the aggregation pheromone “lure is good enough to attract rhino beetles within in the immediate area it is only good enough to detect but not trap them out.” He says as part of the research in lures they are also testing the compost and the different chemicals within to see what chemicals they are emitting. In addition they have also dissected the crown of the coconut tree to see if there is a particular chemical that is more attractive than the lure. But stresses at this point the best trap that he has right now is a big pile of organic matter covered with netting. When it comes to coconut trees that have been attacked by the rhino beetle Quitigua says there is a misconception. He says he has seen where a coconut tree has a number of hits and the tree presumed dead warranting the removal. However he shared that is contrary to what he is doing. Stating, “As long as the center point of that coconut tree is still growing or can grow that tree can be brought back. How do I know because I have done it. I have a row of 38 trees getting hit by rhino beetle and I waited until they were on the brink of death and then using pesticides and management we brought it back.” Quitigua says he has seen people with good intentions that have caused more harm and that the only way to have a successful rhino beetle eradication program is to ensure that those who run the program are well informed as literature is the best tool in the eradication effort.
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