- The coqui frog
issue is the topic of this Update. The reason we're going to
devote a whole page to this little frog is that the little frog
has become a nuisance of monumental proportions. Or not, depending
on your personal sensibilities. And whether or not you happen
to be hearing impaired.
- Just in case
the whole coqui thing is news to you, please google "hawaii
coqui," for some enlightenment. There's more info there
than you'll want to read.
- The rate at
which these things proliferate is unbelievable. For example,
we used to have one or two at a time on our ¾ acre property,
and we'd go out and take care of them immediately. Then the first
four months of this year brought almost daily non-stop rain,
which is a huge problem for those of us trying to keep them under
control. First, you can't spray the little buggers when it is
raining, and second, that gave them four months to reproduce
undisturbed, and reproduce they did.
- By the time
the rains let up, we had such incredible infestations all over
our yard that we thought we had been defeated. It really was
- We decided that
the only way we could even begin to tackle the problem was to
eliminate much of the beautiful tropical planting of which we
had been taking such loving care. That hurt. We cut and trimmed
and pruned until we could see through everywhere. Our beloved
privacy was gone, a compromise we had to live with. To maintain
any semblance of control just in our yard, we have to spray nearly
every night. Sometimes we get up in the middle of the night to
get one screaming frog right outside our bedroom window.
- OK, the flip
side of the story is that a lot of people would insist we are
nuts. They say that they "don't even hear the frogs anymore,"
and I wish we could rationalize some sort of a way to do that
ourselves. But to us, this screeching 90 decibel noise that is
so loud and abrasive that it is difficult to carry on a conversation,
is not easily ignored.
- There are indeed
many areas now where there is simply no way of controlling them
anymore. They multiply so fast that it is just impossible to
get ahead of them. They have no predators here, so they are free
to take over.
- There are several
ways to control them in small infestations. The best one, and
one that the County used to help us with, is to spray a solution
of citric acid in water. Then the County decided they needed
the money for other things (like the County building remodel
in Hilo which they claim is "the most expensive remodel
in State history"). So we started buying citric acid from
our local farm and garden suppliers at $50 for a 100 lb. Bag.
It gets mixed at 1.28 lb. per gallon of water, so it became prohibitively
expensive to use it for large-scale spraying.
- Next we hear
that agricultural lime in water also worked, but not as well.
It was a lot cheaper, though, so we used it anyway and in the
process, our garden acquired an ugly white residue everywhere.
No matter, because now it is illegal to use lime to control coqui!
Interesting, since it is quite OK to use it on your garden for
the normal need to alter soil pH. Oh well, back to citric acid,
right? Wrong. As soon as the suppliers found out citric acid
was our only available control, the price doubled. Now it's really
out of reach for coqui control. We still buy it (at over $100
a bag) just for our little hand sprayers.
- We've also read
that baking soda is an effective control, but there is little
info available yet. And as soon as it becomes available, the
price of baking soda will no doubt climb to the point that we
won't be able to afford to by bread anymore.
- The best solution
is to develop a state of consciousness that will allow you to
ignore the coqui. Some people use earplugs at night, which although
uncomfortable, seem to help.
- The coqui are
listed as an invasive species here now, so maybe somebody will
eventually take this issue seriously. The coqui have been found
to eat not only thousands of insects that formerly fed the natural
predators that kept our ecosystem in balance, but also geckos
and even honeybees. Our only hope, it seems, is that some enterprising
(or lucky) biologist might discover something that can be sprayed
over large areas that will interfere with the coqui's reproductive
- One can only
hope. In the meanwhile, this little pest has done serious harm
here already and the harm is escalating exponentially. Their
presence now has to be noted on real estate disclosures, and
Realtors are routinely advising their clients to visit prospective
properties at night to see if they can tolerate the noise. Some
areas have such massive infestations that it is hard to imagine
anyone buying a home there.
- The coqui have
now solidly spread to Maui, Kaua'i and there are even some on
O'ahu. The hitchhike on cars, potted plants, even in luggage,
so it is unlikely that anywhere in the Islands will not be infested
eventually. One was spotted hopping out of a suitcase that arrived
in California, so anywhere in the world is their fair game. They
can survive for days with no food or water, so hitchhiking is
an effective mode of travel for them.
- Aloha Nui!
- You are also
welcome to check in to the Affordable Paradise
Blog and talk story about your concerns. You can read some of
the many postings there and learn from the conversations of others,
too. You can also go on konaweb.com and punaweb.org and either
participate in the discussions or just eavesdrop for a while!
- We wish you
all the best, and never forget to
- Mahalo for
- Skip Thomsen