BY SAMIE WAIKORI
AN attempt to control the outbreak of coconut rhinoceros beetle at Takwa area in north Malaita is currently in place.
Recently a research team from MAL was deployed to Takwa and set a total of five artificial breeding sites with the support of communities.
Research Officer from MAL, Ms Hilda Wratten said the breeding sites were made within identified sites applying biological method to deal with the issue.
She explained the intention of the breeding sites was to create a place for the existing adult beetles to breed and conduct with fungi known as Metarhizium anisopliae (virus) injected in the beds.
Wratten said the breeding sites were made using death/rotten woods and placed within them beetle larvae to attract the beetles.
She said the approach was an environmentally friendly biological method of control where looked at destroying all stages of the beetle.
“What will happen was if the beetles use or breed within the beds they will infect by the virus and when left and conduct with other beetles they will pass-on the virus to them.
“The effectiveness of the virus was that if the beetles infected with the virus they will no longer reproduce even so it will not fertile,” Wratten said.
She said that control measure was applied and they will continue to monitor the activity for its progress.
Wratten said focus of their activity was only in Takwa as the targeted site, however, people surrounding Takwa area encouraged to report if sighting the signs of beetle in their area for assistance.
She said currently apart from Guadalcanal the beetle now reached, Makira, Ulawa, Savo, Gela, Russell islands and Takwa in Malaita.
Wratten said parts of Western Province had reported with symptoms of the beetle, but was proved not to be rhinoceros beetle, it was the local or original beetle the country has.