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Rhinoceros beetle sighted in north-east Malaita

THE deadly Rhinoceros beetle is extending its invasion into the interior of Malaita, with recent sightings in north-east Malaita.

The beetle has been seen on coconuts where they ate up the flowers and reportedly destroying the plants.

This discovery is seen as a huge threat since north-east Malaita hosts many coconut farmers, and many people there depend on coconut for their livelihood.

Copra is the main economical crop that most people in the rural areas in Malaita depend on for school fees. Most shop owners, and transport business owners in north Malaita started off their businesses through copra.

The farmers call on responsible authorities to quickly help and address the beetle invasion before it is too late.

According to chief field officer from the agriculture extension office in Auki, Mr Ledlie Diudi, an assessment team from the agriculture head office in Honiara was doing an assessment recently and confirmed that the beetle was already in Malaita.

The beetles were discovered around Takwa area in the Lau/Baelelea area in north-east Malaita.

The team confirmed that the beetle was taken to Malaita by some melon farmers when they collected bags of chicken manure from Honiara for their melon farms.

Diudi said the team organised awareness talks for the people to do control measures to fight and reduce the beetle’s population.

“The people were also advised that rubbishes must be cleared to stop them from breeding.”

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