Friday, August 23, 2013

Attack of the Rhino Beetle

The two bottle palm trees were the only plants we had when we moved in to our present home. For years, I have carefully trimmed off, pruned the brown, dried fronds  to clear away old diseased leaves and for aesthetic purposes. They endured all the storms that passed and with the right amount of water and care, they survived peacefully at the center of my humble garden where visitors can't help but notice its unique, ringed and swollen trunk. Perhaps it was the odd looking shape of the trunk that made the trees stood out in every tropical garden that is why it became the favorite plant to grow in landscapes.
bottle palm tree

Hyophorbe lagenicaulis
As an amateur gardener, I hardly knew that gradual discoloration in the crownshaft was an early sign of damage to the area. I had no idea that the insignificant markings just above the lovely trunk was the start of something...alarming. One day, I was devastated to see my favorite palm trees slowly dying, withering, the beautiful canopy of fronds were disintegrating. What have I done wrong? I must have over pruned and injured the poor thing! The culprit? The rhino beetle! I was told once a tree is attacked by it, there is no way you can save the tree. Irreversible damage was already done.


Rhino beetles prefer diseased, rotten wood, branches and leaves of trees for food. Some species attack healthy trees. Well, at least for now I am sure there are no snakes hiding in my garden because they are believed to be enemies of rhino beetles. In as much as I wanted to eradicate the insect before it causes harm to the remaining palm trees, my son thought it was cruel thing to crush it into pieces. Instead, he insisted to keep the beetle safe under his care and add it to his collection of pets. I guess the idea wasn't that bad at all...


James Missier said...

Poor palm tree.
Didn't know a bettle can actually bring down a whole tree.
Hope your son manage to catch the bettle for the consolation prize.

hardinars said...

He did caught the beetle actually. Until now I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the lifeless tree...

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