13 November 2019

Getting Rid of the Pest

Funding is needed to eradicate invasive longhorn beetle

Getting Rid of the Pest

There’s a new agricultural pest in town, and Dan Rubinoff (Dept. of Plants and Environmental Protection Sciences) is ready to start investigating it. He was interviewed by KITV about the Australian longhorn beetle, which is threatening citrus, sago palm, cacao, breadfruit, and kukui trees. A local chocolate company said their cacao yield has dropped 20 percent since the beetle has infested their trees. It also affects native trees such as ‘ōhi‘a and lama.

Sen. Brian Schatz has requested federal funding to deal with the beetle. Dan agrees that the pest, Acalolepta aesthetica, poses a major threat to Hawai‘i agriculture and federal funding is “absolutely crucial.” He explains, “We’re not able to initiate a whole new research project out of air—we need resources to get it going. We are ready to go—we have the people in place—but we don’t have the resources.”

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