Several invasive species have been intercepted in materials imported in support of the Pacific Festival of the Arts currently being held on Guam.
In the latest incidence, on May 21, officers of the Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency intercepted live insects on coconut leaves shipped from Rota Island. A small leaf sample, with insects attached, was forwarded to the Guam Plant Inspection Facility (PIF), which is operated by the Guam Department of Agriculture. PIF does not currently employ any pest identifiers, so pest identification services are provided by University of Guam scientists. The leaf sample was examined by UOG entomologist Dr. Aubrey Moore. Moore found two species of insects on the leaf sample, a whitefly and mealybug. However, Moore does not have the resources to identify these pests to species, so PIF sent the leaf sample to the USDA Systematic Entomology Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.
Today, on May 26, a report was emailed by the USDA. The insect pests were identified by Dr. Greg Evans, a leading insect taxonomist, as Aleurotrachelus atratus, the palm-infesting whitely, and Palmicultor palmarum, the palm mealybug. Neither of these species have been previously recorded from Guam or elsewhere in the Mariana Islands.
Prior to release to FestPac participants, the coconut leaves were fumigated to kill all hitch-hiking insects.