Coconut rhinoceros beetles threaten Solomon Islands coconut and palm oil industries

Solomon Islands coconut and palm oil industries are at the risk of being affected by coconut rhinoceros beetles.

The two commodities are the country’s main export products.

The rhinoceros beetles are understood to have arrived in Solomon Islands from Papua New Guinea in 2015.

There was an outbreak in April 2016 and the government declared the rhinoceros beetles emergency pests as they destroyed coconut trees and palm oil trees.

Coconuts are significant crops for Solomon Islands both for food and export.

Palm oil is also significant bringing in export revenue of about $138 million to the Solomon Islands economy annually.

The rhinoceros beetle, which is native to south and Southeast Asia, has devastating effects on palm trees at each stage of their life cycle.

The adults bore into the trees to breed; as they bore through the growing points of the trees, new leaves can’t be produced so the trees die.

This provides plenty of dead palms for the beetle larvae to feed on, allowing the life cycle to continue. 

More than 95% of Honiara’s coconuts have been killed and the beetles are slowly moving into trees in Guadalcanal. 


Charles Kadamana