Hawaii’s coqui frog problem continues to grow. The Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture (HDOA) confirmed Friday five coqui frogs were captured this week.
On Oahu, one was found in Kahaluu and another in Waimanalo, while three were found at a nursery on Kauai, officials say.
On Oahu, one coqui was found on a boat which was dry-docked at a home in Kahaluu. It was at the same site where another coqui was caught on April 2. The coqui had been quiet for a few weeks until the homeowner heard it again this week. HDOA personnel captured the frog on Monday evening, April 28.
“There were a lot of difficulties in that one, because he was hiding out in places that we could not gain access to,” said Darcy Oishi, HDOA entomologist.
On Tuesday, April 29, a Waimanalo nursery called HDOA inspectors to report a coqui frog calling. HDOA asked a member of the Oahu Invasive Species Committee to check out the report and he was able to capture one coqui frog.
On Kauai, a nursery contacted the Kauai Invasive Species Committee to report possible coqui frogs and on Tuesday evening, April 29, a field crew captured three coqui frogs. But they were not able to capture one or possibly two more frogs that night.
Thursday night, May 1, a joint crew from KISC and HDOA went back to the nursery. “Unfortunately, the frogs were not calling at the time,” Oishi said. “We orient on the frogs by sound, so we were not able to track the frogs.”
“It is important to report suspected coqui frogs as soon as possible,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Our experience proves that the sooner we hear about it, the easier it is for us to eradicate coqui infestations.”
Suspected invasive species should be reported immediately to the state’s toll-free hotline at 643-PEST (7378).
Officials recommend calling the hotline when the frog is calling. “Actually hold up your phone. Go outside so we can hear it,” Oishi said. “That will help us evaluate whether it’s a coqui frog, or a green house frog or even a kolea or some other random thing that we might be mistaking.”