Neotermes rainbowi, Kosrae, FSM Minimize


August 2013. Termites killing coconut trees were recently discovered on Kosrae, Federated Staters of Micronesia, and identified by Dr Su of the University of Florida as Neotermes sp. probably rainbowi (Isoptera: Kalotermitidae), the coconut termite. This is the first record for Neotermes in Micronesia, and because this termite kills coconut palms, it is obviously a very serious pest, especially on smaller islands and atolls where coconut is the "tree of life". The following measure were suggested:

  • Do a delimiting survey on Kosrae to determine the extent and severity of the infestation.
  • Decide whether or not to launch an eradication program based on the results of the delimiting survey, available technology, and economics. If eradication is not feasible, recommend control actions.
  • Attempt to determine how this termite got to Kosrae in order to reduce risk of further spread along the same pathway.
  • Prepare pest alerts for SPC and Pacific First Detector Newsletter.
  • Publish a note on the discovery of this termite on Kosrae in a scientific journal.

The chapter from Waterhouse and Norris Biological Control Pacific Prospects is here, and a fact sheet with photo of the termite can be found here:

  • Lenz M (1997) The coconut termite Neotermes rainbowi (Hill) - biology & management. 2nd Workshop on Biological Control in the Pacific (1995) 107-108.
  •  Lever RJAW (1969) Pests of the coconut palm. FAO Agricultural Series No. 77, pages 35-36 for N. rainbowii. (Standard advice on hygiene is useful - in the nursery, around newly-planted coconut seedlings, pre-bearing palms, and weak, moribund and even dead palms.)

It was thought that Spinosad might be a useful chemical from results in El Salvador.

Photos were requested. And (later) a fact sheet was presented:,%20etc/Sub-regional%20Fact%20Sheets/Pests/Fact%20Sheets/.