Biosecurity team to Malaita for rhinoceros beetle treatment



An image recently taken by this paper on a scapanist beetle destroying coconuts in Maoa area in West Kwaio. The villagers misinterpret it to be rhinoceros beetle but later were proved wrong.

A team from the Biosecurity and Quarantine department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock will leave for Malaita province for rhinoceros beetle treatment.

Research Officer under Malaita Agriculture Office, Mr Robert Tate’e made the statement in an interview with this paper yesterday.

He said the team will arrive in two weeks and go down to Takwa area in Lau region of north Malaita where the beetle was sighted.

Tate’e said the rhinoceros beetle was sighted in the area sometimes ago and recent report was that it continues to move to places in Mbaelelea and even to Malu’u.

He said it was an alarm for their office as this invasive betel species is very capable of swift dispersion.

“This is the fear we have now and possible control measure is very needed to ensure it stop the spread of the species to other parts of the province,” Tate’e said.

However, he said the work expected to carry out by the team on the beetle was a trapping method, this is by setting up traps for the betel.

Tate’e said as the team will introduce the method they will monitor the status of the beetle to see possible step to take if its status is beyond the method will apply.

He said according to report within their office this is the only site in the province has been sited and reported to be with the rhinoceros betel.

Tate’e said that recently there were also reports received from Maoa area in West Kwaio to have been sighted the beetle.

He said officers from Auki went to the site but dismissed the villager’s findings that the betel was not rhinoceros betel but scapanist beetles.

Tate’e said scapanist beetles are indigenous inhabitants of Solomon Islands and that they do not usually invade coconuts.

He explained that the reason they were feeding or damaging the coconuts was because whether they food were destroyed or they don’t have food in that area.

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