Beetle threatening Hawaii's coconut treesUPDATED 7:12 PM HST Jan 20, 2014Video Transcript
RHINO BEETLE is here. They're ugly to look at... And what they do to palm trees is even uglier. It can kill almost any kind.. But Hawaii might have a way to beat the beetle. Brenton Awa is in the newsroom with the more local story. Hi Brenton. Hey Paula -- those rhino beetles first showed up in Guam about six years ago and in that time were told they've destroyed many coconut trees there. But also in that time -- experts have been able to do a lot of research -- and they've flown here -- to help make sure our state doesn't suffer their same fate. 1 22 51 They call this the Rhino beetle. In Japan, Kids love them ... Even buy them as pets! But there's NO LOVE for the Rhino here in Hawaii.. Here's why.. 714 - ROLAND "WE DO LOSE COCONUT TREES." The beetle's a tree killer. Roland Quitugua is here from Guam -- where he studied the insects behavior and has seen first hand -- the uphill battle against this pest. 916 - 931 "THE PROBLEM IS THAT WHEN ENOUGH BEETLES ATTACK AND FEED ON THE CROWN OF THE TREE, THE TREE WILL THEN DIE OVER TIME. AS THAT CROWN FALLS OFF THAT DEAD STANDING COCONUT STUMP NOW BECOMES A BREEDING SITE, A FAVORED BREEDING SITE FOR THE RHINOCEROUS BEETLE." The beetles first turned up about a month ago in coconut trees at Joint-Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. The Department of Agriculture is still working to figure out how they got here. The team from Guam went out today to show what to look for -- how to control the population -- and also to help come up with a plan against this pest. 1232 - 1247 "IT WAS VERY BENEFICIAL GOING OUT WITH THEM TODAY BECAUSE IT'S GIVEN US WHAT WERE DOING RIGHT, WHAT WERE DOING WRONG AND WHAT WE JUST DON'T KNOW." Since the first discovery last month -- more coconut beetles have turned up outside the military base -- but the Department of Ag says they've been contained so far within a 2-mile radius. And with the help of these experts -- they hope to keep it that way. 1055 - 1103 - ROLAND "YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO HAVE TRAPS THAT ARE AT LEAST 10 TIMES BETTER THEN WHAT WE STARTED WITH AND WE'VE EVEN IMPROVED FROM THAT." The Department of Ag needs the publics help in spotting these beetles... If you come across them you're asked to call 643-7378. If the beetles have been on a certain coconut tree you'll notice holes bored through the stems of its leaves and those leaves will look as if they have "V" shapes cut out of them.