Fact sheet — Coconut rhinoceros beetle — Oryctes (108)

Common Name

Coconut rhinoceros beetle, rhinoceros beetle

Scientific Name


Widespread. South and Southeast Asia, Oceania. American Samoa, Fiji, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Wallis & Futuna. The introductions into Guam, Hawaii, mainland Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands, is recent.


Coconut is the most important host, but other palm species are attacked, including betel nut, sago palm and oil palm. Banana, Pandanus , sugarcane and tree fern are also hosts.

Symptoms & Life Cycle

The adult beetle does the damage, boring into the crown of coconut palms, cutting across young fronds and flowers. When the leaves unfold the damage is seen as V or wedge-shaped areas missing from the leaflets (Photo 1-4).

Oval eggs (3.5 x 4 mm) are laid one at a time, 5-15 cm, below the surface of moist organic materials, such as sawdust, manure, compost and garbage heaps, or above ground in tunnels, debris in axils of coconut fronds, in still-standing but dead and rotten coconut palms, and in the rotten ends of fallen coconut trunks. Logs and stumps of many other kinds of trees are also hosts (Photo 5). The eggs hatch in 8-12 days. The C-shaped larvae or grubs are white then creamy with brown heads (Photo 6). There are three stages lasting 80 to 200 days (depending on quality of the diet), with the third stage up to 100 mm long and 20 mm diameter. The last stage makes a hollow where it feeds, lining it with liquid faecal material, and then pupates. The two pupal stages last 25-40 days.

Adults remain in the ground for 2-3 weeks and then chew their way out. They are black with horns — often shorter than the male (Photos 7-9). Females live about 9 months, and lay about 50 eggs; males live about 5 months. The beetles are nocturnal, flying to the tops of coconuts where they use their mandibles, horn and strong forelegs to tunnel into the crowns. They do not eat the frass from the tunnels; instead, they drink the sap that comes from tunneling.


The damage caused by the beetle results in loss of leaf area, flowers dying, early nut fall and, ultimately, lower yields. Occasionally, the beetles bore through the midribs of fronds, which snap in the wind.

It is difficult to relate damage to lost production. One way is to prune leaves to simulate beetle attack and compare nut yields on healthy palms. Using the relationship between damage and yield calculated elsewhere, work in Samoa showed that a 25% reduction in leaf area resulted in a 25% reduction in nut yield.

Indirect damage also occurs. In Asia and parts of Papua New Guinea, Oryctes attack encourages invasion by Rhynchophorus sp. palm weevils ( see Fact Sheet no. 180 ).

Detection & Inspection

Look for large jet-black beetles up to 40 mm long with prominent horns. Look for tunnels in the crown of coconut palms with frass — often more than one per palm. Look for the V-shape damaged fronds. Use a hooked wire inserted into the tunnel to remove the beetle.


Research into management of Oryctes started in the Pacific islands in the 1960s. Today, the key agent is a virus ( Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus — OrNV) originally from Malaysia and, more lately, a fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae, from the Philippines. Apply control measures if 3-5 beetles occur per ha up to 2 years after planting, and 15-20 beetles per ha thereafter.

Vigilance is needed at seaports and airports against hitchhiking beetles. Inspect regularly coconut palms growing nearby for frass and leaf symptoms. This is particularly important as a new form of the beetle has been found in recent years, and is now present in Guam, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands. The damage it causes is similar that that done by the beetle that already exists in the Pacific and elsewhere, but it is not susceptible to OrNV. Also, it is thought to be more aggressive and invasive. The FAO/IBPGR Technical Guidelines for the Safe Movement of Coconut Germplasm should be followed when imports of coconuts are made (http://www.bioversityinternational.org/e-library/publications/detail/coconut/).

There are many general predators (pigs, rats, ants and other insects) and scoliid wasp parasites (e.g., Scolia ruficornis ). The nudivirus infects larvae and adults. It was released in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Adult beetles are dipped in a suspension of ground, infected grubs, and then released to infect grubs in breeding sites, and adults in feeding tunnels. In Guam, spores of Metarhizium anisopliae (imported from the Philippines) are dusted onto beetles, which then contaminate larvae (Photo 10), and other beetles in breeding sites.

  • Destroy fallen dead palms (split, allow to dry and burn); compost dead leaves and grass; and turn manure and sawdust heaps regularly and remove the grubs. Treat compost and manure with Metarhizium or insecticides. Note, in Samoa, the cutting of recently dead trunks has been questioned as a policy: the standing dead palms are (i) a valuable source of Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus , and (ii) can be processed for fence posts, and other uses.
  • Catch adults by covering breeding sites — heaps of fronds or other organic matter — with gill nets (Photo 11); the beetles get caught in the gill net when entering or leaving the breeding site. A method developed at the University of Guam.
  • Grow a legume ground cover (e.g., Pueraria phaseoloides ) over logs or stumps, and other potential breeding sites that cannot be destroyed.
  • Use a hooked wire to extract and destroy adult beetles feeding in the crowns of palms.

Chemical control is uneconomical because of the low value of coconuts per unit area; additionally, it is impractical to apply insecticides except to young palms. If insecticides are needed, use synthetic pyrethroids. Traps with the attractant ethyl 4-methyloctanoate have been used to monitor populations and to give economic control in some countries. Use one trap per 2 ha.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from Waterhouse DF, Norris KR (1987) Biological Control Pacific Prospects . Inkata Press. Photos 5-8 Mark Schmaedick, Land Grant Program, American Samoa Community College. Photos 2,3,4,9&11 Joel Miles, Bureau of Agriculture, Republic of Palau. Photo 10 Fred Brooks, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production , implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

This fact sheet is a part of the app Pacific Pests and Pathogens

The mobile application is available from the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes.


Khapra Beetle

Trogoderma granarium

Khapra Beetles: Biology, Identification, Beetle Control

Description, biology and habits of the Khapra Beetle will help correctly identify which beetle has infested your home or business and how to control the pest. You need to know the type of foods the beetle feeds on and its life cycle in order to make a thorough inspection and to choose the best pest control methods. Integrated pest management requires knowing as much as possible about the targeted pest, changing its surroundings to limit its entry and its reproduction.
Inspection, identification, sanitation and structural changes are more important than which pesticide or trap is used in Khapra Beetle control. Sections of this article include description of beetle, Khapra Beetle biology, life cycle and habits of Khapra Beetles and pest control measures. These control measures include sanitation of infested area, crack and crevice pest control and pheromone traps. Pheromones are used in commercial settings such as warehouses. Do-it-yourself pest control or home pest control for pests such as Khapra beetles usually consists of sanitation and extensive crack and crevice work. Crack and crevice control methods are also described in this article .

Khapra Beetle Description: Small round beetles; 1/8” long with dark colored pattern on back usually yellow and brown with various shades on their wings.

Biology of Khapra Beetles: Discovered in the US in 1946, Known to infest warehouses and food processing plants and can infest any structure and prospers in pantries, closets, garages, laundry rooms, and basements where wheat, grain, cereal, barley and rice are stored. Khapra beetles thrive on pet food, grass seed, bird seed and in areas with large Pecan, Walnut, Acorn and other nut trees

Life Cycle and Habits of Khapra Beetle: Larva begin to feed as soon as they find food and will continue for a month. They will then pupate into adults and begin mating and laying eggs. The stages from Larva to adult usually last two to three months, though it is not uncommon to last three to four months. Khapra beetles multiply at an increased rate if food supplies are in abundant. In the average home, infestation is usually limited to a few rooms.

Khapra Beetle Control Measures: Discard any food item suspected of harboring larval or adults. Empty cabinets and treat with Baygon Aerosol in all cracks and crevices where adults like to lay eggs. This spray will break the cycle by killing off emerging larva which will be hatching from eggs that have been laid undetected or hidden from view.

If Khapra Beetles are found throughout the whole house treatment using Permethrin in a pump sprayer should be used, treating all baseboards throughout living areas and in unfinished basements and garage areas. This should last 2-4 weeks and provide a residual so that emerging larva will die off while seeking food .

Our thanks to Lani Powell whose research made this information page possible!


Control Measures


Think of a control measure as an action aimed to eliminate a hazard completely. If the hazard you’ve identified can’t be eliminated, follow the hierarchy of controls to select the next-best control to mitigate the risk of an accident, incident, injury, or near-miss in the laboratory.

Your risk assessment may reveal that you will need a temporary control measure until you can put a better and more permanent control in place.

Selecting your controls is a key part of the process of identifying and evaluating hazards in your lab. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Fact Sheet, controls are usually placed:

  • At the source (where the hazard comes from)
  • Along the path (where the hazard travels)
  • With/on the worker

There are several types of control measures that fall into three main categories (in order of priority and effectiveness):

The Hierarchy of Controls

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) depicts the hierarchy of controls as an inverted pyramid with the most effective types of control measure (elimination) at the top and the least effective (personal protective equipment) at the bottom.

Elimination and Substitution

Elimination and substitution are considered the most effective control measures. They are easiest to achieve for brand new processes. They can be more difficult to implement for existing processes, because new and/or more expensive equipment and materials may be required.


Completely get rid of chemicals, materials, processes, and equipment that are unnecessary to your specific experiment.

Check if your equipment is well-worn, check dates, and refer to manufacturer’s recommendations.


Switch out processes, equipment, material, or other components, where applicable.

Think about the amount of chemicals or potentially hazardous materials you are using. Can you reduce the amount and still achieve the desired result?

Engineering Controls

Although elimination and substitution are separate controls in the hierarchy of control measures, they are also considered engineering controls because they are designed to remove the hazardous source before the worker makes contact. Other forms of engineering controls include:

  • Isolation
    Reduce or remove hazards by separation in time or space. (May be particularly helpful in a shared lab space where different types of chemicals are being used.)
  • Enclosure
    Place the material or process in a closed system.
  • Transportation
    Move hazardous materials where fewer workers are present.
  • Guarding and shielding
    Install guards to provide protection from moving parts or electrical connections.
    Shielding provides protection from potential explosions
  • Ventilation
    Use fume hoods, fans, air ducts and air filters.

Administrative Controls

While engineering controls seek to eliminate hazards, administrative controls aim to minimize a lab worker’s exposure. Administrative controls are the existing safety rules and protocols put in place for workers in the lab to follow. Following are examples of administrative controls:

  • Standard Operating Procedures and checklists;
  • Training;
  • Conducting a Job Hazard Analysis prior to the start of an experiment;
  • Limiting the time a person works with a certain material;
  • Mandating that no one should work in the lab alone.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Even though the hierarchy of control measures indicates PPE is the least effective of control measure, it should absolutely be used, in case other control measures fail. The success of PPE depends in part on whether or not lab workers actually use it.

Eye goggles, hearing protection, and protective clothing (e.g., lab coats and gloves) are the most recognizable and most used PPE in the lab.

PPE is always essential, and especially critical in the following circumstances:

  • When engineering controls are not feasible or they do not totally eliminate a hazard;
  • As a temporary control while engineering controls are being developed;
  • In emergency situations.

Real World Example: Benzene as a Solvent

Using benzene as a solvent in a process introduces a physical (fire) and a health (cancer) hazard. If substitution with a less hazardous solvent is not possible, then there should be controls in place for the associated flammability and health risks. Control measures would consist of:

  • Removing ignition sources (Engineering)
  • Having an absorbent on hand for spills
  • Referring to the lab SOP for using benzene prior to working with the chemical (Administrative)


Nutcracker beetle: photo, description and control measures

Taro Beetle

Dalo is one of the most important staple food crops in Fiji not only because of its traditional significance but also because of its economic importance. Fiji is currently the major exporter of dalo in the Pacific with exports valued at almost $20 million dollars annually.

However, Fiji’s dalo is also threatened by the taro beetle (Papuana uniondis) Adult dalo beetle damage the underground corms by chewing and burrowing into them creating tunnels. These beetles create large cavities allowing secondary rots to develop causing low quality corms for consumption. Dalo damaged by beetles cannot be exported.

Life cycle

The adult beetle is black, shiny and 15-20mm in length. Many P. uninodis species has a horn on the head with the average life cycle of 22 to 25 weeks. The adult beetles fly from the breeding sites to the taro field and tunnel through the soil and into the base of the taro corm. They then proceed to feed on the growing corm, leaving large holes that degrade the market quality and value of the corm. The wounds created while feeding promotes a path way for rot-causing organisms. The feeding activity can cause wilting and even death of the affected dalo plants.

Areas infested with Taro Beetle

Taro beetle was first found in Fiji in 1984 and since then it is being localized in the Central Division of Viti Levu extending from Tailevu to Sigatoka and up to Vunidawa in the interior. Lovoni in Ovalau, the Ra Province from Nalidi to Navitilevu along the Kings Highway are also taro beetle infested areas. Recent findings of taro beetle have been in Gau. In addition to this, continuous survey will be carried out to ascertain the presence or absence of taro beetle in Bua, Ckaudrove in Vanua Levu.

Control Measures

Numerous efforts have been made to develop effective control measures for the taro beetle. These include:

Cultural control:

• Crop rotation, clean planting material (free from soil, grubs and beetles).
• Destroy breeding sites at the sides of dalo gardens.

Biological control:

• The fungus- Metarhizium- works under experimental conditions, but as yet there is no recommendation for farmers. A virus has been tried without success.

Chemical control:

The chemical imidachloprid (Confidor) and cypermerthrin (Mustang) have controlled Papuana beetles in Fiji. Please do seek advice from the Extension and Research Division of the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

Biosecurity Containment, Advice and Control Measures

• Avoid the movement of dalo corms, planting material and other taro beetle host plants from taro beetle infested areas to non infested areas.
• Contact your nearest Biosecurity Office or Agricultural Officer for the necessary supervision of treatments to be carried out for infested dalo planting materials.

Seek assistance or approval from the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) if you want to move dalo or dalo planting material and are not sure of the taro beetle infested or non infested areas.


Common Name

Coconut hispine beetle, coconut leaf hispa

Scientific Name


Widespread. Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania. It is recorded from American Samoa, Australia, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Wallis & Futuna. Note, Another species, the Pohnpei coconut leaf beetle, Brontispa chalybeipennis , in recorded from Marshall Islands; Brontispa mariana from the Federated States of Micronesia and Northern Mairiana Islands; and Brontispa palauensis from Guam and Palau.


Coconuts are the most important crop attacked, but the beetles also infest betel nut, sago palm, oil palm, and a number of ornamental and wild palms.

Symptoms & Life Cycle

Palms of all ages are attacked, but the damage done to seedlings in nurseries and young palms after planting out is often severe. The adults (Photo 1) and larvae graze the leaflets of the unopened spear leaf, forming narrow red-brown streaks parallel to the midrib. As the leaf unfolds, these streaks enlarge, forming irregular greyish blotches (Photo 2); when severe, this gives the palm a scorched appearance (Photo 3).

The entire life cycle of the beetles takes place in the unopened spear leaf. Eggs are laid in grooves chewed into the leaflets and covered by excreta. The eggs hatch after 4-5 days, and the larvae pass through several moults during the next 4 weeks before they pupate. Six days’ later the adults emerge. They are 8-10 mm long and 2 mm wide, and live for about 7 months. The females lay 100 eggs or more.


Severe attacks may kill the palm, and those that survive are more susceptible to drought and disease. Yield of bearing palms is reduced considerably. There is, however, a large difference between the susceptibility of varieties with Malayan Dwarf very susceptible. Betel nuts, too, are badly damage by the hispine beetle, especially when the palms are young.

Detection & Inspection

Look for the narrow brown streaks on the leaflets, and red and black beetles between them. Look for fronds with ragged leaflets, with those still green bearing large dry dead blotches parallel to the length of the leaflets.


Brontispa is mostly under control by its natural enemies. Tetrastichus brontispae, a wasp , was introduced successfully into the Russell Islands, Solomon Islands, in the 1930s and again in the 1960s, making spraying of young palms unnecessary. The same wasp was introduced into Samoa in the 1980s from New Caledonia, and was responsible for the initial decline of Brontispa at that time. Later, another wasp, Chrysonotomyia sp., was found attacking the larvae, which may be a native species. Both Tetrastichus and Chrysonotomyia attack Brontispa larvae.

In recent years, serious outbreaks in Asia have been brought under control by introducing Asecodes hispinarum , also a larval parasitoid.

Earwigs ( Chelisoches morio ) are reported to feed on the larvae of Brontispa , and the fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae , also causes high mortality.

In Solomon Islands, there is evidence that the Local Tall and Rennell varieties are more resistant than Federated Malay States and Malayan Red (or Yellow) Dwarf. The hybrid between Rennell Tall and Malayan Dwarf is susceptible. Some varieties from Ivory Coast and Fiji were resistance when tested in Solomon Islands, as was a green dwarf in Samoa.

Occasionally, insecticides are needed in the nursery and on young palms after planting out, especially where susceptible varieties of coconuts are planted in areas that have dry seasons, e.g., the Guadalcanal Plains, Solomon Islands.

  • Use plant-derived products, such as derris, pyrethrum or chilli (with the addition of soap).
  • Note, a variety of Derris , brought many years ago to Solomon Islands from Papua New Guinea, is effective as a spray. It contains rotenone, an insecticide, so it should be used with caution. There may be varieties of Derris (fish poisons) in your country that can be tried ( see Fact Sheet no. 56 ).
  • Alternatively, synthetic pyrethroids are likely to be effective, but will also kill natural enemies.

AUTHORS Helen Tsatsia & Grahame Jackson
Information from Waterhouse DF, Norris KR (1987) Biological Control Pacific Prospects. Inkata Press.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

This fact sheet is a part of the app Pacific Pests and Pathogens

The mobile application is available from the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes.


Once you’ve completed a risk assessment in your workplace, those risks that you have identified as high or moderate may require additional controls. You must correct unsafe conditions.

The highest risk should be addressed first. If you cannot eliminate a risk, you’ll need to implement control measures to minimize the risk. The hierarchy of controls can help you systematically take action to minimize risk.

The hierarchy of controls

When considering how to reduce the risk, there’s a certain order you should follow. This is called the hierarchy of controls. It’s important to follow the hierarchy, as shown below, rather than start with the easiest control measures.

Note that while the controls are listed in order of effectiveness, all four types of controls should be considered. They often work best in combination. For example, first responders cannot eliminate risks by choosing not to enter a burning building, but they can use engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment and clothing to minimize the risks when they enter that building.

Elimination or substitution

Eliminating the hazard completely is always the first choice. Substitution involves replacing the material or process with a less hazardous one.

When considering these options, ask yourself:

  • Can I find safer ways to perform the task? For example, if falling is a hazard, eliminate the risk by storing stock at lower heights so workers don’t have to climb ladders to reach the goods.
  • Can I use something less harmful? For example, if chemical-heavy industrial cleaners are a hazard, consider substituting cleaners made of vinegar and water mixed with salt, borax, or baking soda. Just make sure the substitutions don’t create new hazards.

Engineering controls

If you can’t eliminate the hazards or substitute safer alternatives, engineering controls are the next best options. These involve using work equipment or other means to prevent workers from being exposed to a hazard. Engineering controls are physical changes to the workplace and may include equipment guarding, guardrails, traffic control lanes and barriers between vehicles and pedestrians, and many other options.

For example, while working at heights cannot be avoided in construction, guardrails can be installed to prevent falls from happening. Guardrails are an example of an engineering control.

Administrative controls

Administrative controls involve identifying and implementing safe work procedures so your workers can perform their job duties safely. The findings of your risk assessment will form the basis of these safe work procedures.

Examples of administrative controls include implementing person-check procedures and prohibiting the use of mobile phones while workers are driving.

Personal protective equipment and clothing

Using personal protective equipment (PPE) is another important control to protect workers.

For example, while working with toxic chemicals may be necessary in certain workplaces such as laboratories, the use of PPE such as protective eyewear and gloves will help to reduce the exposure risk. Similarly, first responders enter hazardous sites as a regular part of their job, but they diligently use various types of PPE to protect themselves.

Monitoring control measures

Improving health and safety doesn’t have to be costly, but the potential return on investment is huge. For example, placing a mirror on a dangerous, blind corner of your worksite can help prevent vehicle incidents. Considering how serious a resulting injury might be, this is a low-cost precaution.

Protecting employees from harm requires ongoing effort. You’ll need to monitor the effectiveness of the hazard controls in place and improve those that don’t measure up. It’s a good idea to:

  • Conduct regular safety inspections to track exposure to hazards.
  • Organize a joint occupational health and safety committee and hold monthly meetings to discuss health and safety issues.
  • Deal with safety issues as soon as possible.

Record your findings

It is a good practice to document what you find from your risk assessment. This includes noting the hazards, how people might be harmed by them, and what’s already in place to control the risk. This documentation doesn’t need to be complicated, but it can help you communicate and manage risks in your workplace.


See also:  When to Use a Bug Bomb to Control Pests
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