Fighting Rhinoceros Beetle Takes New Approach

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EFFORTS to control and contain the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) have shown positive signs of improvement in the Guadalcanal Plantation Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL).

This is according to GPPOL plantation workers and supervisors.

Plantation Field Cadet, Junita Pige said everyone is very happy that the Technical Service Department (TSD) in GPPOL has made every effort it could to help fight against the pest.

“Through several different efforts on measures TSD has made, we are now starting to see recovery and improvements of palms.”

“Bunch weight which used to drop due to the attack has now increased,” she said.

Ms. Pige said that plantation workers worked as a team together in the field and with the help of supporting departments, they have managed and controlled the infestation of the pest.

A healthy bunch of palm oil freshly harvested.

Despite all these improvements GPPOL Company might, however, need another approach in controlling and managing the pest attack.

Entomology Section Supervisor, Simon Chris said currently they are doing three different types of controls: physical control-which includes excavating and labor force, pipe trapping-which is done weekly and they monitor the population of the pest and Chemical controls as part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Mr. Chris said GPPOL Company is now moving into biological control and it is much better as it is an environmentally friendly kind of approach.

“With the help of other domestic and international partners, we are currently working on a research which we are trying to determine a specific virus trend that can be used as a biological agent harmful to the CRB.

“Samples have already been sent to Agri-research in New Zealand for DNA test and we highly anticipate a positive result,” said Chris.

He said once this is determined, it will be a huge breakthrough for the local coconut and oil palm industries.

He added that there wouldn’t be much money spent on labor force and other intensive work to fight against the pest for this awaiting result, as it will be much easier to use and perform on the field.

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Lynda Wate
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