Rhinoceros beetles

Scientists scramble for solution to Rhinoceros Beetle

Guam entomologist Aubrey Moore has been travelling the globe searching for a viral control agent to deal with what's referred to as the CRBG, a particular beetle bio-type that has proven immune to previous viruses that were introduced.

Dr Moore said over half of Guam's coconut tree population was under threat from the CRBG, as were other populations across the region.

"This is a Pacific-wide problem. It's a big problem in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and other places," he said.

Coconut rhinoceros beetles threaten Solomon Islands coconut and palm oil industries

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.