NATION

30% Rise In Rhinoceros Beetle Population

A survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Research Division between 2016 and 2017 has found a 30 per cent increase in the population of rhinoc­eros beetles. Ministry of Agriculture
29 Sep 2018 11:00
30% Rise In Rhinoceros Beetle Population
Rhinoceros beetle

A survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Research Division between 2016 and 2017 has found a 30 per cent increase in the population of rhinoc­eros beetles.

Ministry of Agriculture assistant farm manager Niraj Lal said the increase in the pest population was a direct re­sult of the damage sustained by the coconut industry after Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston in February 2016.

“Major areas of coconut production in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu, Lomaiviti and the Lau Group were covered in the survey,” Mr Lal said.

The ministry was allocated $96.8 million in the 2018/2019 National Budget, a $10.5m increase from the previous budget.

The budget, Mr Lal said, would ensure the management of coconut pests and setting up of control measures to combat its infestation.

“These involve the use of pheromone traps, bi­ological control agents such as virus and fun­gus for coconut rhinoc­eros beetle, biological control agents for stick insects, coconut flat moth and scale insects,” he said.

Mr Lal said the rhinoc­eros beetle was one of the major pests for co­conut trees in Fiji, add­ing that they were active at night and hid while feeding or breeding.

“The adults grow to a length of 55 millimetres; the males can be differentiated from females by the longer horn on their heads and by the absence of reddish coloured hairs on the last ventral segments of the abdomen,” he said.

“Eggs are laid and larvae are developed in decaying logs or stumps, piles of decomposing vegetation or sawdust or other organic matter.

“Adults are usually found in the crown of palms, dead standing trunks, sawdust heaps or piles of compost.

“After four to five months mature larvae will emerge and transform into pupae and after four to five months an adult will leave the breeding site and head to the nearest palm feed.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: nacanieli.tuilevuka@fijisun.com.fj

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