One day as I was walking downstairs to the laundry room of my building, I noticed this small, black thing wedged in a crevice between a door and a wall. As I approached it I immediately recognized what it was by its hind legs. A coconut rhinoceros beetle! Lately I’ve been reading a lot about the negative impact they’ve had on the island. Here is a story about the devastation from Pacific Daily News. According to the article, trees along the beach in Tumon have been chopped down due to damage by the beetle. One of the most beautiful things about the beaches are that they are lined with coconut trees, so I was saddened when I went to Ypao Beach and saw stumps where trees once flourished. As of now, the beetle has spread to all villages on Guam. There are different ideas about how to get rid of the pests, but I’m not sure if any of them are working. It’s surprising that these beetles are able to cause any damage at all because they look drunk and uncoordinated when they fly.
When Peter came back home from work, I told him what I found. I know that he’s been wanting to catch one so he was really happy. Without a second thought, Peter scooped it up into his hands and took him upstairs. He then tied a rope around the beetle and put him in a pot of dirt. The beetle began digging its way deep into the pot and stayed there. We considered killing it because that’s what you’re supposed to do, but it felt wrong. It’s not just like a bug you can squash with your foot. It’s thick and its signature rhino horn on top of its head is amazing! Unfortunately, I’ve been seeing a lot of these lately and I’m hoping that it’s not a sign that they are taking over. Let’s just hope that Guam is able to get this problem under control.