Farmers Concerned After Coqui Frogs are Discovered in Waimanalo – KHON2.com

For years, coqui frogs have wreaked havoc on the Big Island, keeping many residents awake at night.

And they’ve also popped up in some communities on Oahu, most recently in Waimanalo.

The coqui frogs are no stranger to the islands, but with the recent layoffs of inspectors at the Department of Agriculture, officials fear the invasion could get worse.

Imagine trying to sleep with this noise outside your home.

"If you go at night anywhere from Hilo out to Volcano and Volcano is at 4,000 feet above sea level the noise is deafening and it’s not a very pleasant experience," said Senator Clayton Hee.

Several areas on Oahu have already been hit.

"Unless the state takes an aggressive posture with the landscape industry and the nurseries, we may end up like Hilo," said Hee.

Since the recent discovery of coqui frogs in Waimanalo, the Department of Agriculture is monitoring the area and has already started spraying a herbicide to kill the frogs.

"But the more alarming part is that it’s also in the forested area and we do not want the frogs to get a foothold to the Koolaus," said Carol Okada with the Plant Quarantine branch.

Officials say the coqui frogs eat insects that can prevent pollination to plants.

With Waimanalo being full of nurseries and landscape companies, owners fear it will affect business.

"The economic consequence is if they get a foothold in Waimanalo with the nurseries, there is going to be quarantine efforts on shipping in and shipping out," said Hee.

Hawaii Farm Bureau President Dean Okimoto says the recent layoffs of 30 inspectors has not helped the problem in containing the invasive species.

"Because there’s not enough inspectors it’s passing through and that’s why we are going to continuing having more invasives unless we really start looking at what is coming into the state," said Dean Okimoto with the Hawaii Farm Bureau.

Senator Hee plans to present three bills next Wednesday to utilize special funds currently not being used to hire 30 Department of Agriculture inspector positions.

If you see or hear coqui frogs in your neighborhood, call the state’s hotline at 643-PEST.

Farmers Concerned After Coqui Frogs are Discovered in Waimanalo – KHON2.com

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