SPECIAL REPORT

Tree Frog Alert!

 Here's something you probably never expected would be an issue when
looking for a home in Hawaii: Tree Frogs!
 
In case you haven't heard, there has been an invasion of tree frogs all over the Big Island.
 

East Hawaii is actually an ideal environment for these tiny creatures, which are about the size of a nickel. So what's all the fuss about? The frogs, also known as "coqui," are very noisy. Their call is hard to describe, save that they were named after the sound they make. It is high pitched, and when there are only a few of them, it could even be described as pleasant. Hundreds of them begin to transcend any definition of "pleasant" and the thousands that are now appearing in many places here are so loud that in some places it is difficult to carry on a conversation.

They have become so common now that their presence must be reported on real estate disclosure statements, and this is exactly why I am posting this report.

The presence of tree frogs is not always reported, as it is up to the seller to fill out the statement and of course, it is to the sellers distinct advantage to "forget" to do so. Since the statement only asks one to report unusual or annoying noises, a seller to whom the din of tree frogs is music might fail to report it as annoying.

So if you are looking at real estate here, it's up to you to not only ask, but to check for yourself! You can do this easily by simply going to the property after sundown, better yet after about 8 PM, and listen for yourself. If there is even only one tree frog sounding off, be assured that it is only a matter of time. Actually, the way they are multiplying, it is probably only a matter of time before they are everywhere.

What it being done to control this matter? Not much. The County has known about the problem for several years, but during the initial period when something could have been done easily, the matter was in heated dispute with environmentalists and others sympathetic to the cause of the invaders. Now it has grown to such proportions that eradication, according the latest reports from the County, is impossible. We are told that the best we can hope for is to slow further spreading and perhaps eradicate new, small, fairly isolated populations of them. These invaders are not only a nuisance to those of us who might otherwise enjoy a good night's sleep; they are also a significant threat to Hawai'i's delicate ecosystem.

An example of an eradication effort by the County is the Lava Tree Park project. A crew of workers came in and decimated all of the beautiful tropical undergrowth of a major portion of the park. They removed everything right down to the dirt. Then they sprayed a citric acid solution that is reported to kill the frogs. Trouble is, as they were cutting and whacking, all the little froggies hopped out into the surrounding jungle and as soon as the protective vegetation grows back, they'll hop right back in. A night visit reveals that the frogs are still there, although right now they are not as loud as they were before the "war on frogs."

The frogs are spread in many ways here, and our residents are not helping the matter. Some, we have heard, have actually captured these "cute" little critters and taken them home to what were at that time frog-free areas. Another cause of the spreading are "flower and garden" operations that routinely sell potted plants complete with hitchhiking frogs. It is thought that hitchhiking on imported potted plants is how they arrived here to begin with. Wal*Mart in Hilo has had frogs in their garden shop for some time now and they claim to be telling their employees to "pick the frogs off of their plants," but it isn't working.

So there you have it. The tree frogs are quiet during the day, so don't assume
a frog-free area until you've personally checked it at night. Check nearby as well, because if they are close, they'll be around soon.

For further info on Hawai'i's tree frogs, type "Hawai'i tree frogs" into your favorite search utility. You will be surprised by the amount of data presented there. Or just click HERE for an interesting article!

Aloha Nui!

Skip Thomsen