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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes boas)

Host plants / species affected
Cocos nucifera (coconut)
Elaeis guineensis (African oil palm)
Phoenix dactylifera (date-palm)
Washingtonia (wshington-palm)
List of symptoms/signs
Growing point  -  dead heart
Growing point  -  external feeding
Growing point  -  frass visible
Growing point  -  internal feeding; boring
Leaves  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  frass visible
Leaves  -  shredding
Roots  -  external feeding
Stems  -  dead heart
Stems  -  dieback
Stems  -  external feeding
Stems  -  internal feeding
Stems  -  mould growth on lesion
Stems  -  visible frass
Whole plant  -  dead heart
Whole plant  -  external feeding
Whole plant  -  frass visible
Whole plant  -  internal feeding
Whole plant  -  plant dead; dieback
The adult beetles tunnel into the heart of the coconut palms and feed on the youngest leaves and vegetative bud (Bohlen, 1973). The bored holes are often marked with a bundle of fibres and chippings pushed out of the hole by the beetle.
Prevention and control
It is both uneconomic and impracticable to spray coconut palms at regular intervals to prevent attack by adult beetles. Cultural control is the most feasible method and includes planting palms at the same time, at a close regular spacing so that a continuous canopy of foliage develops; cutting down and destroying dead coconut palms by burning; and removing all crop residues and manures at the base of the coconut palms (Bohlen, 1973). Other methods involve trapping, physical removal of adults and killing the beetles in the bore holes with a pointed wire.
Wheatley (1961) estimated 2% death of coconut palms and 15% loss of bearing capacity of palms due to Oryctes spp. in the Coast Province of Kenya.
Related treatment support
Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Girija; CABI, 2012, Tamil language
Girija; CABI, 2012, English language
Pest Management Decision Guides
Elaiyabharathi, T.; Asokhan, M.; Aruna, T.; CABI, 2014, English language
External factsheets
Pestnet Factsheets, Pestnet, English language
Pestnet Factsheets, Pestnet, 2016, English language
Pestnet Factsheets, Pestnet, English language
TNAU Agritech Portal Crop Protection Factsheets, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, English language
TNAU Agritech Portal Crop Protection Factsheets, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Tamil language
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