Guam CRB Before and After Pics
The coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) was first detected on Guam at Tumon Bay in 2007. Despite eradication efforts, by 2010 CRB had spread island-wide. In 2013 a single CRB was found on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in a red palm weevil trap near Hickam Air Field which is jointly operated with Honolulu International Airport. I still vividly remember, as natural resources manager of the base, getting the call from my friend at the State Department of Agriculture just before Christmas and the craziness that ensued in the following months. That is a story worth telling some other time, but for now I just want to share some photos from Guam that show how destructive this invasive species and pest of palm trees can be.
In 2014 I had the incredibly awesome opportunity to attend the USGS Brown Tree Snake Rapid Response Training Course. It was one of the most fun things I’ve done in a very long time. Perhaps it was because I don’t get the chance to go to Guam any more, or maybe it was just that I love searching for and catching snakes, but I really had a good time. I knew that CRB had hit Guam particularly hard, and also I knew that most folks in Hawaii didn’t realize that we could potentially experience the same effects, so I decided the trip would be a good opportunity to get some photos of CRB damage. Furthermore, I thought it would be cool if I could find some pics on the internet of pre-CRB areas or early CRB areas with healthy coconut palms, then I could recreate the photos in 2014 to show how the trees had changed. It didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped, but nevertheless here are the photos.
From these pictures alone the damage over the years does not seem to be catastrophic, although it does look like the trees overall area thinner and less full in 2014. There were some areas of the Asan Beach Memorial that were being hit very hard. The following are some pics of some of the CRB damage that was more obvious. These were all taken in 2014. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I will go back to Guam this year for BTS refresher training. If that is the case I hope to replicate these photos again.