THE infamous Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle is spreading further and it’s not just from coconut tree to coconut tree.
Roland Quitugua, operations chief for the Guam Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Eradication Program, recently informed village leaders that the species is now travelling via illegal green waste dumpsites. Zita Y. Taitano / Variety
During a recent special meeting with the Mayors’ Council, Roland Quitugua, operations chief for the Guam Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Eradication Program, informed village leaders that the species is now travelling via illegal green waste dumpsites.
Green waste refers to plants, branches and leaves piled up and not properly disposed of.
“It is currently moving and how it’s moving is from green waste pile to pile,” he said.
Quitugua recently met with Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares about the problem, especially since Dededo is heavily infested with the beetle in areas like Swamp Road and the transfer station.
He also said that since people are being charged for the green waste because of the tipping fee, they are just dumping along the side of the road. Thus, the people who end up picking them up are the mayor’s road crews.
“As long as we have a green waste problem on this island, we have a losing battle,” he stressed.
The latest breeding site discovered was at Cross Island Road near Santa Rita on Bishop Apuron Loop.
“Asan, Piti, Nimitz Hill ... those areas are hot right now and the infestation is heading down towards Polaris Point where someone had a green waste site,” he said.
Quitugua pleaded with the mayors to inform their constituents about the worsening situation.
“As much as I hate to say it, burning is the option right now; and if you have compost piles, the beetles will breed in as shallow as 5 inches,” he said.
The beetles have reportedly started breeding in ornamental palm trees found on the island.
The eradication program has also obtained a permit to bring in a bio-controlled fungus to bring the infestation down.
Still, Quitugua said funding is an issue for the program. They are $200,000 short for current operations for the next fiscal year, but are actively seeking local and federal sources to augment costs.