WPTRC | Entomology


Research and extension entomologists are engaged in research with practical applications in controlling invasive species and pest management using integrated control methods.

In recent years, CNAS entomologists have been actively working on the control of several introduced invasive insects that have the potential to radically alter the island’s terrestrial ecosystems; coconut rhinoceros beetle, little fire ant, Asian cycad scale, and cycad blue butterfly.

Two years of collaboration between Ross Miller and the US Forest Service have come to fruition with the recent hiring of a forest health/agroforestry specialist. Robert Bevacqua, adjunct professor with UOG, signed on for a two-year contract to coordinate the management of tropical forest ecosystems in the region. The span of the program includes three independent countries, a commonwealth, and a territory of the US. “I look forward to the challenge and opportunity to apply previous experiences in agriculture, forestry, and invasive species,” said Bevacqua. “Many of my former students come from Micronesia and to be working with them in this new capacity is exciting.” Find the Forestry Workshop schedule here!

They have also been conducting research on the health of honeybees in the region taking part in a national survey to understand what factors have been contributing to decline in the health of honeybees throughout the states.

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle

The coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB), Oryctes rhinoceros, has been attacking coconut trees on Guam since it was first discovered on the island in 2007 and has proven to be voracious and tenacious. The coconut rhinoceros beetle, is a major pest of coconut palm, oil palm and other palm species. Palms are damaged when adult beetles bore into the crowns of palms to feed on sap. Tree mortality occurs when beetles destroy the growing tip (meristem). Immature beetles (grubs) do no damage. They feed on dead, decaying vegetation in breeding sites. Preferred breeding sites are dead, standing coconut stems, and piles of decaying vegetation such those left behind by typhoons or after replanting of oil palm plantations.

The links below provide more information regarding the CRB on Guam.

CRB Behavior & Biology CRB Past Present Future CRB White Paper Guam Invasive Species Council
Briefing 11/20/2015
CRB Life Cycle Poster Library of CRB Scientific

Island Images:
CRB Video


Little Fire Ant

Little fire ant, Curt Fiedler

Wasmania auropunctata, little fire ant (LFA), was first detected on Guam in 2011. This invasive little ant has a big sting. When they infest an area, they make it impossible for humans and animals to venture in. Treatments being used to control the ants around Guam are working. Dr. Ross Miller's lab is involved in the successful implementation of of LFA control techniques. Click on the links below to read about LFA facts and Dr. Miller's LFA work in the 2017 Impact Report.

Little Fire Ant    Baiting with Peanut Butter

Honey Bees

Guam honey bees got lucky when Dr. Ross Miller applied for and received funding for the island to be included in the USDA-APHIS National Honeybee Survey. Chris Rosario spent two years collecting bee samples from around the island to send to the US for testing. Their efforts resulted in the discovery of varroa mites on Guam and Saipan. Click on the link below for a brochure with information for new beekeepers.

Honey Bees on Guam 


Published in 1997 by by Isle H. Schreiner and Donald M. Nafus, Butterflies of Micronesia is an excellent tool for identifying local butterflies.

List of Insects and Mites Attacking Crops in Micronesia 

This listing was originally compiled during the early 1990s by Dr. Don Nafus and Dr. Ilse Schreiner, former entomologists at the University of Guam. The list was converted to HTML by Dr. Aubrey Moore and Anthony Tudela at Northern Marianas College (NMC) in the late 1990s and made available online via the now defunct NMC CSREES web site. The list is in need of updating following recent arrival of new pests in Micronesia, geographical range expansions within the region and name changes. However, it still proves useful in its present form.

Click here for list

DIY Non-toxic Insect Control in the Garden

Make your own insect spray to control insects in you home garden using household ingredients.

Click here for recipe

Ross Miller, PhD
Dean’s Circle, House 35
University of Guam
UOG Station
Mangilao, Guam 96923
Email: millerr@triton.uog.edu
Phone: 671-735-2068
Fax: 671-734-4600

Aubrey Moore, PhD
Agriculture & Life Sciences Building, Room 105H
College of Natural & Applied Sciences
University of Guam
UOG Station
Mangilao, Guam 96923
Email: aubreymoore@triton.uog.edu
Phone: 671-735-2086
Fax: 671-734-4600