Military preparing plans to control Rhinoceros beetle problemUPDATED 7:31 PM HST Jul 10, 2014Video Transcript
The military is preparing to destroy close to 175 coconut trees at Hickam Air Force base-- in an attempt to get control of the coconut Rhinoceros beetle problem. KITV4's Catherine Cruz has new information on the battle against the pest and the latest find at Campbell Industrial Park. 16-22 Hickam will be a little less greener without the palm trees, but the decision has been made that the damaged trees will have to go. The tree removal plan includes about 80 near the entrance of pearl harbor and another 80 or so on the golf course. The bulk of the work starts next week. Rob kurtiss 7:26 -731 - "Its pretty significant but we are trying to take extreme measures to make sure the beetle does not get established" The state says the most recent find of a beetle at campbell industrial park means expanding the intense trapping efforts more westward. - Rob Kurtiss 1:54 -2:05 -"We are putting up traps island wide in areas we can access at four per square mile, and when we find a new site like this one we increase that to 64 per square mile," This crew was out checking traps on the leeward coast yesterday. But officials say the conditions out west will hopefully limit the spread of the pest. - Rob Kurtiss 2:52 -3:04 - "There's not a lot of host trees for the adults, and it's pretty dry out there so there is not a lot of host material for the larvae, and so it will be less likely we will find huge populations out there than if it was wetter with more palms," To date the state has set aside a half a million dollars to knock out the pest. The military is putting two million dollars toward the eradication effort and US Department of Agriculture has kicked in another 2 and a half million dollars. The new find of the beetle means expands the buffer zone for more intense trapping by another 9 square miles. So far about 1400 traps are in place from Kailua to Waianae with thousands more expected to be installed in strategic areas. To date, 540 adult beetles have been trapped. Scientists are still working to find the best way to eradicate the pest, since the method of trying to get rid of known breeding sites is very labor intensive. The rhino beetle also attacks trees like plumeria pandanus and areca and date palms although so far here on Oahu coconut trees are the only ones to have suffered damage. Officials say the beetles could become a real threat to California's 35 million a year date industry. so the sooner scientists figure out how to eradiacate the beetle the better.