Last May 21, Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency intercepted live insects on coconut leaves shipped from Rota. A small leaf sample with insects attached was forwarded to the Guam Plant Inspection Facility, which is operated by the Guam Department of Agriculture. University of Guam scientists conduct pest identification services for PIF.
The leaf sample was examined by UOG entomologist Dr. Aubrey Moore, who found two types of insects, a whitefly and mealybug. However, because Moore does not have the resources to determine the species of the pests, PIF sent the leaf sample to the USDA Systematic Entomology Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.
A report emailed by the USDA stated that Dr. Greg Evans, a leading insect taxonomist, identified the pests as Aleurotrachelus atratus, the palm-infesting whitefly, and Palmicultor palmarum, the palm mealybug. Neither of these species had been previously recorded in Guam.
Prior to release to FestPac participants, the coconut leaves were fumigated to kill all of the insects.
For more information regarding insects and invasive species, please visit: http://cnas-re.uog.edu/expertise/cnas-entomology. (PR)