HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii Department of Agriculture got a call from a Waimanalo landowner searching for answers after mulch was dumped on his property. He said it was infested with Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle larvae.

Michael Medus, Starfarms Conservation Inc CEO and landowner said, “at our yard, somebody had, without our knowledge, illegally dumped a pile of debris.

“Today was the day we decided to finally come clean it up at and to which we discovered these big, massive, giant larvae,” explained Medus. “The guys pulled them up, did a quick Google search, found out what it was and 20 minutes later Department of Agriculture out here taking samples.”

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A crewmember from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture showed what they found.

“This is the pupa stage you see here from this stage and then they’ll emerge as adults,” an HDOA employee said while holding three Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle in their hand. “As adults are when they feed on palm trees and are the most harmful to the palms here.

The pupal stage of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle.
The pupal stage of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle.

The Department of Agriculture said they have been looking for a breeding site for months in Waimanalo and this is the first known location.

Darcy Oishi from the HDOA’s Plant Pest Control Branch said the incident increases the likelihood of heightened spread throughout the island of Oahu.

“And right now, we’re stretched thin on resources in order to address the infestations here on Oahu,” said Oishi. “So, the department has already begun a pivot in terms of where we are moving more toward containment on the island of Oahu.”

The HDOA said if you find a Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle at any stage, call officials and freeze it to kill the beetle. 

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As far as what the community can do to reduce the spread, officials said properly take care of your green waste.