Coconut rhinoceros beetle

Beetle virus released in Vanuatu

About 30 beetles infused with the virus were released this week on the main island, Efate, the Vanuatu Daily Post reports.

A State of Emergency has been declared in Vanuatu in response to the threat posed by the beetle, which was detected on Efate in May.

It damages coconut trees and crops.

Another strain of the beetle is currently at large in Solomon Islands for which scientists are searching for another biological control agent, like the virus.

     

NZ partners with Pacific to combat Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) damages or kills coconut and oil palm trees, affecting the lives of people who depend on the industries for employment and income, as well as food and building materials.

If the beetle continues to spread it is estimated the Pacific could lose at least NZ$237 million per annum by 2040 as a result of damage to coconut trees alone.

New Zealand is contributing up to $18 million to support response efforts across the Pacific to reduce Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle populations and limit the spread of the beetle.

Vanuatu offered help to deal with rhino beetle

The Director General responsible for biosecurity, Moses Amos, said his ministry had received offers from New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines and Israel.

The beetle is considered a threat to the country's coconut industry and the government recently extended a state of emergency until 21 October to deal with the infestation.

Mr Amos said the offers of help showed that the international community was aware how the beetle could impact the Vanuatu.

     

Vanuatu set to extend state of emergency over rhinoceros beetle

The beetle damages coconut plantations.

The Daily Post newspaper reported the state of emergency was was due to end today.

However, the Ministry of Agriculture's Phillip Meto said the destruction of beetle breeding sites had not been completed and the emergency could be extended.

Two teams operating on a $US467,000 budget have been sent out to the affected area which includes Lelepa Island.

The operation involves destroying breeding sites, spreading community awareness and implementing quarantine zones.

Vanuatu Maritime Regulator not aware of rhino beetle state of emergency

The beetle has already devastated coconut plantations across the region and has started to impact areas in North East Efate.

A state of emergency order was put in place to control the movement of vessels and vehicles from the infested area.

However, the maritime regulator's legal adviser Lloyd Fikiasi told the Daily Post newspaper his office was not aware of the order, which was enforced by the Department of Biosecurity.

He said his office knows the threat of the rhinoceros beetle is very serious, but he was not aware of any state of emergency.