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The good news — warmer weather is coming. The bad news — so are the coqui frogs. It’s a myth that Waimea winters kill the coqui. When the temperatures drop and the wind rises, the frogs just burrow down into the ground debris, feed and wait for spring. We’re starting to get reports of that distinctive, loud mating call returning—mostly in the areas where frogs have been established for some time.
That means it’s time for all of us in Waimea to start listening. Go outside, walk your street, lower your car windows on your way home after dark. If you hear a coqui call, try to locate it: which property, approximate location on the site. (The sound can be deceptive.) If you can, capture it and spray. Be patient. It can take time to figure out where it is, and they often go quiet when you get near. Turn out your flashlight or headlamp and wait till it calls again. If necessary, try again another night. If it’s out of reach, call the Coqui-Free Waimea hot line, 885-FROG, for help.
Coqui-Free Waimea (CFW) is a volunteer group helping residents keep their neighborhoods quiet. Through a generous Ho’o Hui O Waimea grant from the Richard Smart Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation, Coqui-Free Waimea was able to acquire equipment and materials to help keep Waimea quiet:
• Four backpack sprayers, which can be loaned to residents.
• A 26-gallon sprayer, built for agricultural use, travels on a luggage rack that mounts on a trailer-hitch receptacle.
• A lower-volume sprayer built in Volcano, using a 50-gallon acid-resistant drum. Empty, the drum is lightweight and easy to handle; one person can easily carry it and put it into the back of a pickup. Using an ordinary spray nozzle and a hose up to 150’ long, the pump on this sprayer can deliver a spraying distance of more than 20 feet.
• A 400-gallon, trailer-mounted, high-volume sprayer on loan from the County of Hawaii. This sprayer will allow us to deal with large infestations in pastures or forested areas or, with a smaller hose and nozzle, to spray for several hours around homes or other areas with smaller infestations.
CFW volunteers are available to help you learn how to control coqui frogs in your neighborhood: to show you how to hand capture single frogs and how to spray small areas. For larger or more difficult infestations, CFW volunteers can bring heavier equipment for eradication. Neighborhood volunteers are needed to support this effort (call 885-FROG to help). With citric acid at a cost of $2 per pound, it will cost $1,000 to fill the largest tank, so donations are critically important. Send checks made out to The Kohala Center (“coqui” on memo line), P.O. Box 437462, Kamuela, HI, 96743.