The Secretariat of the Pacific Community says Samoa could pay the price for not fully addressing the rhinoceros beetle menace which threatens the copra industry.
The recent increase in the beetles in areas of Savai'i and Upolo has prompted the SPC to assist Samoa with a major control project.
Sada Lal, an SPC plant protection officer, says the problem had been brought under control some years ago but re-emerged because the community neglected rhinoceros beetle breeding sites.
He says they're trying an integrated approach, using chemicals like pheromone and other established controls like viruses and fungi, but getting rid of breeding sites is the key to a long-term solution.
"If we are not careful with breeding grounds for rhinoceros beetles and don't destroy them, then we'll always have this kind of problem. We should discourage the development of breeding grounds for the rhinoceros beetle, then it will be at a level where it doesn't do any economic damage to coconut palms."
The SPC's Sada Lal