16 Jul 2003

Palau scientists launch new attack on rhinoceros beetle

10:31 am on 16 July 2003

Scientists in Palau have released a virus to control the rhinoceros beetle, the thumb sized, horned scourge of coconut palms in the country's undeveloped outer islands.

The beetle feeds on the soft immature fronds in the crown of the palms, weakening the plant and reducing its production.

Severe attacks can destroy the palms.

To try and control the spread, the Baculovirus is fed to some of the beetles who will then spread the infection among the rest of the beetle population.