Monitoring an invasive coconut rhinoceros beetle population using pheromone traps in Honiara, Solomon Islands
Keywords:Oryctes rhinoceros, ethyl-4 methyloctanoate, Honiara, Solomon Islands, pheromone trap
An invasive population of the coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros; CRB) was discovered in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands in 2015. The beetle has caused severe damage to coconut palms in the outbreak area and its continued spread threatens the food security and livelihood of thousands of smallholder farmers in the region. Spread and abundance of the beetle were monitored using bucket traps baited with the aggregation pheromone, ethyl-4 methyloctanoate. Beetles were collected from traps approximately bi-weekly for two periods; one during 2017–18 and the other during 2019–2020. Trap catches showed that CRB was present throughout the whole survey region with significantly higher numbers of female CRB trapped than males. Results indicate a significant 1.5-fold increase in CRB trap catch numbers from 2017–2018 to 2019–2020 despite control efforts. The number of CRB adults trapped also varied between sites and months during both time periods but with no clear patterns. Removal of breeding sites along with strong local quarantine should remain the top priority of the local government to contain CRB expansion within Solomon Islands and beyond.