September 2007. An infestation of the coconut rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros, has been found at Tumon Bay, Guam. This scarab beetle is a serious pest of coconuts, other palms and cycads, and it has never been reported previously on Guam.
For images and details, see:
The rhinoceros beetle is the major pest of oil palm in India migrating from coconut and palmyrah. There are IPM practices using bioagents. Advice on a suitable IPM strategy, involving pheromones, baculovirus and Metarhizium anisopliae, can be obtained from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Fiji. SPC is working with others on baculovirus strains.
Later, June 2010. Large numbers of beetles are reported to be breeding in the crown of palms, an activity not reported before. The reason for this is thought to be because the brown tree snake has killed most of the rats on Guam. Rats previously made their nests in the crowns of palms, and ate the grubs of rhinoceros beetles.
Members also thought that there were less ground sites on Guam where the beetle can breed, so that alternative sites have been sought, i.e. the crown of palms. Any site with rotting vegetation is a potential breeding site for this beetle. Grubs have also been found in rotting breadfruit/banana used for earth ovens in Samoa, and in compost in Palau.
In the Philippines, the beetle larvae are used as feed for chickens, ducks and pigs, and in Papua New Guinea they are important delicacies in the lowlands, and a source of food for free-ranging pigs.
Later, September 2011. An article online by the University of Gua details grants given by USDA APHIS and USDA Forest Service to bring the beetle under control. Apparently, the virus has not worked well on Guam. The beetle is now all over northern and central Guam. See, www.physorg.com/wire-news/77621376/uog-entomologist-receives-new-grant-monies-to-combat-the-rhino-b.html.
Reports from India and Malaysia said that Metarhizium anisopliae had performed well in controlling larvae at breeding sites. In Malaysia, M. anisopliae was applied to artificial breeding sites with pheromone traps and significantly reduced the population of Oryctes in oil palm replanting areas. The ‘artificial breeding sites’ were established at the perimeter of replanting, 250 m from each other.
Later, March 2012. A decline in the damage done is reported, supported by a YouTube video: http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21852:special-fungus-is-eradicating-invasive-coconut-rhino-beetle&catid=45:guam-news&Itemid=156
There is also an article about the release of Metarhizium here:
Later still, January 2014. A member from Palau wrote the the potential impact of the coconut rhinoceros beetle depends on tne availability of its breeding sites. In Palau, following WWII, especially on the ialnds of Angaur and Peleliu – there was a lot of rotting wood from trees felled during the fighting. It seems elsewhere the impact of the beetle was not nearly as bad, on Babeldaob, for instance.
There’s a video