Eradication efforts launched in Waimanalo in wake of coqui frog infestation

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The state has recently found an infestation in Waimanalo: coqui frogs.

They are loud and pose a threat to native eco-systems. The state says the immediate concern is to prevent the frogs from spreading to other areas.

So far, 65 coqui frogs have been caught by hand. KHON is told the primary area of the infestation appears to be about an acre along the base of the mountains, about a third of a mile away from the nearest road.

“They don’t travel very far and they’re quite territorial, so why they’re so far away, we really don’t know at this point. And based on the size of population, it’s probably been there for some time,” said Plant Quarantine Branch Acting Manager Jonathan Ho.

The plan is to remove the trees and open up the canopy.

“Because this is like basically full coverage with big trees,” said Ho. “So open it up, get it to dry out, and then look for a way to get in a spraying unit so that we can then start to use citric acid to spray the immediate area.”

Ho says at this time it’s hard to determine how much the eradication will cost. One of the issues is getting the sprayer up into the location. Officials are looking at alternatives, but they don’t foresee it being cheap.

“And then you have the issues with getting the citric and water as well,” said Ho. “So for example, if we had to build a water line that’s a third of a mile, somewhere, that’s going to cost some money.”

Right now a team goes out weekly to remove the frogs by hand. Ho says there’s definitely a breeding population of coqui in Waimanalo, probably in the hundreds, but there may be hope.

“Establishment seems like you can’t get rid of it. Generally speaking, I think things become established, they’re there to stay. I think we’re not at that point yet. This is something that we can tackle,” said Ho.

Anyone who hears coqui frogs should contact the state at 808-643-PEST (7378). To hear what a coqui frog sounds like, click here.

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