Beetles, Ants Focus of Invasive Species Awareness Week

March 3, 2014, 6:45 AM HST · Updated March 3, 10:08 AM
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Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. Photo courtesy, Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture.

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. Photo courtesy, Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture.

By Wendy Osher

The state kicks off its 2nd annual observance of National Invasive Species Awareness week with a proclamation at the Hawaii Capitol today.

Governor Neil Abercrombie identified invasive species control as an administrative priority and proposed up to $5 million this legislative session to meet operating costs of invasive species programs.

Of particular focus is the battle against the little fire ant on Maui, the coconut rhinoceros beetle on Oʻahu and the coffee berry borer on Hawaiʻi Island.

Coffee Berry Borer. Images Couresy Hawaii State Department of Agriculture.

Coffee Berry Borer. Images Courtesy Hawaii State Department of Agriculture.

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“We are experiencing a biological crisis involving a multitude of invaders ranging from the little fire ant and coconut rhinoceros beetle, which can harm our animals and trees, to parasites attacking coffee crops,” said Abercrombie in a press release. “Each represents a deadly threat to our isolated ecosystem, natural resources, and economy, and I ask for the public’s engagement in addressing this menace,” he said.

Photo of fire ant colony courtesy R. Heu and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Agriculture.

Photo of fire ant colony courtesy R. Heu and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Agriculture.

As part of awareness week, the Maui Invasive Species Committee and the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance will lead a talk story session about invasive species at the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge between 10 a.m. and noon on Friday, March 7, 2014.

The discussion, led by James Leary and Brooke Mahnken, is entitled “Paintballs and Digital Mapping: A day in the field for Maui Conservationists.”

To sign up for attendance, interested individuals are asked to RSVP to Jason at [email protected] or call (808) 398-6520.

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