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Last updateSat, 16 Dec 2017 12am

     

     

     

     

     

    Saturday, December 16, 2017-7:38:35A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Mesngon: Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle may have come from Guam

SENATE Vice President Steve Mesngon on Tuesday said the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle now infesting an area on Rota may have been brought in by cargoes from Guam.

Mesngon in an interview said the CRB was found in an area close to the Rota West Harbor where most of the shipping cargoes are unloaded.

“We suspect that’s what caused this problem of CRB,” he said, referring to the cargoes from Guam.

Click to enlarge
DLNR staffers and Quarantine personnel inspect a coconut tree for larvae.
Rota Forester holds up Coconut Rhino Beetle larva found within decaying coconut tree.  Office of the Governor photos

But he said the problem is “not really that big — only a portion of the area was infested. It’s good that this was discovered soon. We are still waiting for the feedback from Guam and an assessment of the situation. We want to know how long have they been infecting our trees.”

He said Rota Quarantine and the Forestry Division of the Department of Lands and Natural Resources are working with the Rota mayor’s office and Guam to address the problem.

“We’ll have more updates in the coming weeks,” he added.

“I would also like to urge the people, if they see any CRB, to report it immediately to the mayor’s office, Forestry or DLNR so we can address it immediately. These beetles are nesting in our palm trees and coconut trees and they’re dangerous to our trees. We want to contain the problem before it gets out of hand. We don’t want our island to be devastated because of this beetle problem,” Mesngon said.

On Thursday, the governor’s office said Rota Forester James Manglona had informed acting Secretary of Lands and Natural Resources Augustin Kaipat that over 14 Coconut Rhino Beetle breeding traps have been deployed while a forestry team is doing an island-wide assessment of the infestation.

“The Coconut Rhino Beetle was first discovered Thursday last week at Tweksberry Beach Park, Southwest of the West Marina on Rota. Containment efforts are ongoing with 14 breeding traps 100 feet apart secured with pheromone lure and gill nets so far. More traps are expected to be deployed throughout the coming weeks,” Manglona said.

Manglona added that sanitation of the surrounding areas is needed with crew currently piling compost, mulch, and green waste within 100 to 200 feet all around infested sites for incineration.

According to Acting Secretary Kaipat, one adult beetle was caught by a trap on Monday and two on Tuesday.

“Over 20 adults have been collected so far and about a gallon of larvae have been removed. DLNR crew is currently conducting island-wide assessment to determine range beyond the breeding grounds. We are alerting the general public about this destructive pest and more developments will be forthcoming,” Kaipat said.

He added that DLNR has initiated increased quarantine protocol at the airport to inspect all outgoing cargo and baggage on Rota.

To report a sighting, call CNMI Forestry at 256-3321 or DLNR at 322-9834.