FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For questions specific to your location or area, contact the CRB Response at (808) 679-5244.

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Q: Where have coconut rhinoceros beetles been detected in Hawaiʻi?

A: The CRB Response’s monitoring and trapping network has only detected CRB on select areas of Oʻahu. Most of the beetles are found in Central Oʻahu and the Waiʻanae Coast, ʻEwa Beach, Iroquois Point, Waipahu, Waikele, Mililani, and Kunia. The North Shore of Oʻahu has also seen an increase in detections. 

 

Q: Why do I see the traps everywhere?

A: The CRB Response monitors all of Oʻahu for CRB, using traps to identify where beetle populations exist and the size of those populations. 

 

Q: Can I get a trap?

A: Over 3,000 traps are deployed across Oʻahu in strategic locations, at higher concentrations in areas that are infested with CRB. A single trap will not protect palms in the vicinity or catch every CRB. If you are concerned about CRB, please consult our green waste management suggestions or contact us. 

 

Q: How does the trap work?

A: Traps have a pheromone lure (a chemical substance that triggers a social response in the same species) that attracts CRB. The adult beetle flies into the side panel and drops into the cup. CRB are unable to escape this trap because the cup is too slippery to climb and CRB wings are too wide to fly out.

 

Q: Why don’t you hang traps on coconut trees?

A: We don’t want to attract beetles to their preferred food source, it is difficult to hang traps on coconut palms, and falling coconuts pose a hazard to our field technicians. 

 

Q: What about the oriental flower beetle (Protaetia orientalis; OFB)?

A: OFB are also non-native but have less impact on the environment compared to CRB. OFB feed on rotting or damaged fruits, and are widespread around Oʻahu. Although they are a nuisance, their feeding does not seem to harm fruit and flower production. Please note that OFB breed in the same kind of material as CRB, so if you find OFB larvae, CRB may be nearby.

Learn more in our lookalike species blog.

Q: Is it possible to get rid of CRB on Oʻahu?

A: The CRB Response is working to completely get rid of CRB in Hawaiʻi and we believe that it is possible with the cooperation of public and private entities. Public reports of CRB adults, larvae, damage, breeding sites, and adopting CRB green waste management guidelines all support efforts to eradicate CRB. New treatments for palms and breeding sites are also showing promising results in reducing CRB populations.

 

Q: Is there a pesticide treatment option for CRB?

A: Pesticide treatments for CRB have been tested in the lab and field application trials. The CRB Response is deploying products that contain imidacloprid, beta-cyfluthrin, and/or acephate in breeding sites and host trees in hot spot areas when appropriate and approved by the landowner. Treatments are approved for legal use in Hawaiʻi by the Department of Agriculture Pesticide Branch, and are only applied in accordance with the label and where it is intended to be used. 

 

Q: Why haven’t I heard anything about CRB in the media lately?

A: The CRB Response engages in press briefings following major developments.

 

Q: Where did they come from? Where else are they? 

A: The CRB’s native range is in Southeast Asia, including India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. CRB have since invaded the Pacific, including Guam, Palau, and Samoa.

 

Q: How did they get here?

A: There is no certain path of invasion, but genetic information and pathway analyses suggest human-vectored spread from another Pacific Island. On Oʻahu, the first detections were near the airport at Mamala Bay.

 

Q: How far can they fly?

A: Studies have documented adult CRB flying up to 2 miles a day. However, flight is energy-intensive, and field observations suggest that when CRB have access to a preferred food source and breeding material, they likely won’t fly far.

 

Q: Was it the military who brought it in?

A: Both military and commercial flights arrive from areas with CRB populations, so military introduction cannot be confirmed.

 

Q: What should I do if I find a CRB larva or adult beetle?

A: Capture it and put it in a hard plastic or glass jar that is well-ventilated. If you do not have a container to put the beetle in, please crush it. Record where you found it and call the CRB Response immediately at 808-679-5244 or email info@crbhawaii.org

 

Q: What should I do with a tree if it’s damaged? Cut it down?

A: Take a photo and report the tree to us. The CRB Response will monitor the tree over time. Host trees can recover from CRB feeding unless the growing tip is heavily damaged or if the tree has secondary damage like a disease or other pest damage. Beetles can move from one tree to another so cutting down one infested tree is not recommended as it might lead them to feed on another. Look for possible breeding sites nearby (mulch, compost, green waste piles) and consult our recommendations for treatment or prevention of breeding activity.

 

Q: What should I do with my plant waste?

A: We recommended you treat or remove any plant waste (mulch, compost, trimmings, wood) so they do not become CRB breeding sites. On Oʻahu, use your City & County green waste bins or dump at Hawaiian Earth Products (hawaiianearth.com in Wahiawa, Campbell or Waimanalo) or Island Topsoil (islandtopsoil.com in Waianae). For other treatment suggestions or locations outside of Oʻahu, the CRB Response is happy to develop a solution that fits your situation.

 

Q: I found a CRB larvae in a breeding site. What do I do?  

Collect suspect CRB larvae and text photos to 808-679-5244 or email info@crbhawaii.org. We will follow up with recommendations. Take photos of the breeding site, including a scale reference for the volume of infested material. Do not move the material off site without initial treatment. You may also consult this article for general prevention and treatment recommendations: https://www.crbhawaii.org/post/how-to-treat-coconut-rhinoceros-beetle-infestation 

 

Q: Are beetles or larvae harmful to humans?

A: CRB do not cause physical harm to humans, but they impact agricultural industries and valuable cultural resources. However, because beetles and larvae live in dirt and mulch, they may carry diseases and should not be handled with bare hands whenever possible.

 

Q: Can you eat CRB? 

A: In their native range, CRB larvae and adults can be eaten. In Hawaiʻi, it is illegal to breed CRB, and they may carry bacteria from the breeding material they live in.

 

Q: My palm died quickly (within a month or so). Did CRB kill the palm?

A: It typically takes multiple feeding events over a period of time for trees to die. Please send us pictures of the damaged or dead palm and your location so we can identify if the damage was caused by CRB. If not, the tree may have died from a disease or nutrient deficiency.

LEARN MORE

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Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

Coconut rhinoceros beetle or CRB are 2" long black beetles with a horn.

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The CRB Response

The CRB Response was formed in 2014 after CRB was detected in Hawai'i for the first time. 

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Resources

Read our most frequently asked questions, best management practices; and download printable material.