L’expression "c’est Pearl Harbor ! " est malheureusement de circonstance. The coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB)
The coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) was first detected on Guam at Tumon Bay in 2007. Despite efforts to eradicate the highly destructive pest of coconut and other species of palm trees, by 2010 CRB had spread island-wide. In 2013 a single CRB was found on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in a red palm weevil trap near Hickam Air Field which is jointly operated with Honolulu International airport. I still vividly remember natural resources manager of the base getting the call from my friend at the State Department of Agriculture just before Christmas, and the craziness that ensued in the following months. That is a story worth telling at some point, but not now. For now I just want to share some photos from Guam that show how destructive this invasive species can be.
In 2014 I had the incredibly awesome opportunity to attend the USGS Brown Tree Snake Rapid Response Training Course. It was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a very long time. Perhaps it was because I don’t get the chance to go to Guam any more, or maybe it was just that I love searching for and catching snakes, but I really had a good time. I knew that CRB had hit Guam particularly hard, and also I knew that most folks in Hawaii didn’t realize that we could potentially experience the same effects, so I decided the trip would be a good opportunity to get some CRB pics. Furthermore, I thought it would be cool if I could find some pics on the internet of pre-CRB or early CRB Guam, then I could recreate the photos in 2014 to show how the trees had changed. It didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped, but nevertheless here are the photos.
These photos are of the same section of coconut palms along the beach side of the War in the Pacific National Historic Park, Asan Beach. The top photo was taken by an unknown photographer in 2009 (can’t find it on the internet anymore so don’t know who to give credit to) and the bottom photo was my attempt to replicate the photo in 2014.
Images of palm trees again from the Asan Beach Ware in the Pacific National Historic Park, but they were taken in a different area. Top photo from the internet was taken in 2002 and bottom photo was recreated by me in 2014.
These photos were taken at the Agat Unit – Ga’an Point location of the War in the Pacific National Historic Park – the top was taken in 2013 and the bottom was recreated by me in 2014.
From these pictures alone the damage over the years does not seem to be catastrophic, although it does look like the trees overall area thinner and less full in 2014. There were some areas of the Asan Beach Memorial that were being hit very hard. The following are some pics of some of the CRB damage that was more obvious. These were all taken in 2014. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I will go back to Guam this year for BTS refresher training. If that is the case I hope to replicate these photos again.