The dying cocunut trees of Honiara and Savo Island

A palm affected on Savo Island

A coconut palm affected in Reko Village, Savo Island

It has invaded Honiara and much of Guadalcanal – and now it has reached Savo Island.

During a tour of the volcanic island last week, the SIBC team spotted the damage caused by the Rhinnoceros Beetle, which has ravaged the trees of Guadalcanal, on at least two coconut trees on Savo.

Chief Fred Gabu of Reko village – which sits on the southern tip of Savo Island where the Rhinnoceros Beetle had eaten away at the coconut trees – said the beetle reached the island this year.

“It eats the coconut and beetlenut trees,” chief Gabu said. “It is our income (cocunuts and copra).

“And when you come across the beetle you have to kill it and make sure it is dead, otherwise it will reproduce.”

The damaged coconut palms on Reko village, Savo Island.

The damaged coconut palms on Reko village, Savo Island.

Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, and surrounding areas have been inundated with the pest.

A retired Solomon Islands biosecurtiy expert told SIBC the beetle posed a greater national threat than giant African snail because it would affect copra and oil exports, as well as village food production.

He described it as a “slow moving tsunami”, with a fungus,which has been used in limited areas, the only way of controlling it.

Chief Fred Gabu of Reko village talking to the SIBC team

Chief Fred Gabu of Reko village talking to the SIBC team

Chief Gabu implored the Government to do something about the beetle before it was too late.

“What is the solution to kill it? We don’t know.”

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