Start of eradication efforts in Waimanalo following the infestation of shell frogs


HONOLULU (KHON2) – The state recently found an infestation in Waimanalo: coqui frogs.

They are noisy and pose a threat to native ecosystems. The state says the immediate concern is to prevent the frogs from spreading to other areas.

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So far, 65 coqui frogs have been captured by hand. KHON is told that the main area of ​​the infestation appears to be about an acre along the base of the mountains, about a third of a mile from the nearest road.

“They don’t travel very far and they’re pretty territorial so why they’re so far away, we really don’t know at this point. And given the size of the population, it’s probably been around for some time, ”said Jonathan Ho, acting director of the Plant Quarantine Directorate.

The plan is to remove the trees and open up the canopy.

“Because it’s like full coverage with big trees,” Ho said. “So open it up, dry it, then find a way to get into a spray unit so we can then start to use citric acid to spray the immediate area. “

Ho says that at present it is difficult to determine how much eradication will cost. One of the problems is getting the sprayer up into the slot. Officials are looking for alternatives, but they don’t expect it to be cheap.

“And then you also have problems getting citrus and water,” Ho said. “For example, if we were to build a third-of-a-mile water pipe somewhere, that will cost money. ”

At present, a team goes out every week to remove the frogs by hand. Ho says there is certainly a breeding population of coqui in Waimanalo, probably in the hundreds, but there may be hope.

“The establishment seems impossible to get rid of it. Generally speaking, I think things are settling down, that they are here to stay. I think we are not there yet. It’s something we can tackle, ”Ho said.

Anyone hearing shell frogs should contact the state at 808-643-PEST (7378). To hear what a coqui frog looks like, Click here.

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