Volunteers search for invasive species habitats at Mamala Bay Golf Course

Rebecca Smith (right), Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, spoke to civilian and active duty volunteers who were preparing to search for possible coconut rhinoceros beetle breeding sites at Mamala Bay Golf Course, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Rebecca Smith (right), Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, spoke to civilian and active duty volunteers who were preparing to search for possible coconut rhinoceros beetle breeding sites at Mamala Bay Golf Course, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Story and photo by Brandon Bosworth

Assistant Editor, Ho`okele

More than 60 civilian and active duty volunteers spent the morning of April 7 scouring Mamala Bay Golf Course, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, for possible coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) breeding sites.

Volunteers roamed the grounds in teams, marking possible CRB breeding sites with bright flags. Potential breeding sites included mulch piles and dead trees. Those sites will later be thoroughly examined for signs of the invasive beetles.

“We appreciate everyone coming out today, said Cmdr. Tom Lyons, environmental assistant engineer for Navy Region Hawaii. “We appreciate the support. This is a really big deal for us.”

The coconut rhinoceros beetle is a high profile invasive species and a pest to coconut palms and other palm species. They were discovered on JBPHH property last December. More than 300 traps have been deployed in a two-mile radius were set, and more than 100 adult CRB have been captured near the Hickam golf course and beach, along with more than 250 larvae.

Patty Colemon, Navy Region Hawaii Environmental Outreach, thinks the April 7 project was helpful.

“We located some potential breeding sites and all the potential trouble spots,” she said.

Rebecca Smith, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, agreed.

“We identified all that we could,” she said. “This is where the boots hit the ground.”

It is unknown at this time how the CRB arrived at JBPHH. The CRB could have been brought on either military or civilian flights from many possible locations. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam has the nearest green space to the shared runway and airfields of Honolulu International Airport and Hickam, so it isn’t unusual that invasive species would appear there first.

Residents can report any sighting of rhino beetles to the state pest hotline at 643-PEST (643-7378). If anyone finds a beetle and is willing to capture it in a bag or jar, place it in a freezer to kill it and contact the number above. Residents who find a trap that is damaged can call 832-0585 to have it picked up.

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Category: News