Waimea volunteer coqui hunting activities gain momentum

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Veteran and first-time coqui hunters enjoy the success of capturing a frog that was high up a tree behind a house on Hohola Drive. Other frogs were found in a gutter and inside a downspout (producing especially loud noise), and in ti plants and other vegetation behind a number of homes. (Courtesy photo by Jonathan Rawle for NHN)

After a successful community workshop recently at Horizon Automotive, Coqui-Free Waimea veterans and new volunteers sprayed for coqui behind Kamehameha Preschool and Punana Leo School and along Hohola Drive. Both areas, sprayed last year, have coqui infestations large enough to require multiple treatments. Newcomers learned how to hunt frogs, knowledge they now take to their own backyards. They also saw that they don’t have to deal with the noisy frogs alone—a growing number of residents are willing to help.

Coqui-Free Waimea’s new volunteer coordinator, Tara Seely, is meeting volunteers, logging contact information, and organizing neighborhood coqui surveys and hunts. Puu Manu resident James Hustace has surveyed his street and is seeking permission from property owners to control frogs that he has heard. CFW will be helping him treat for frogs on his street soon.

Seely is working with Puanuanu resident Avi Okin to survey that street, too. CFW, with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee coqui workers, twice sprayed a heavily infested property there last year, also removing or spraying additional frogs found nearby. Following the survey, volunteers will return for further control work.

Seely is looking for a Nani Waimea resident willing to work with her to survey that street, where CFW and BIISC have treated an infested field. Contact Seely by calling the hotline, 885-FROG or by email, info@coquifreewaimea.org.

Individual frogs have been removed recently from Luala’i, near Mokuloa, Puu Nani, Lakeland, Vacationland, outside Lex Brodies, and elsewhere. Growing awareness of the problem and the realization that it is possible to control coqui frogs are contributing to the momentum to make that happen.

Recent dry, windy weather have kept more frogs on the ground. Coqui frogs, though not aquatic, do require moisture to survive. With the return of typically wet weather, we can expect to hear more of them. CFW asks Waimea residents to make a point of listening at night for the distinctive—and loud—“ko-kee” mating call.

If you hear frogs, even a single one, call the coqui hotline, 885-FROG. Leave your name, neighborhood, street name and phone number so CFW can follow up.

Mahalo to local businesses that have supported Coqui-Free Waimea: Horizon Automotive, Waimea Instant Printing, Village Burger, KTA, Waimea Coffee, Don’s Chinese Kitchen, Underground Pizza, Earl’s Waimea, Mamane Bakery, Starbucks, and Kozen Farms.

Donations are needed to buy supplies—citric acid, the only EPA-approved substance for coqui control, is expensive.

Coqui-Free Waimea is a volunteer group that helps neighborhoods to locate and eliminate frogs. Call 885-FROG to report frogs in Waimea and to help. Send tax-deductible donations made out to The Kohala Center with “Coqui-Free Waimea” on the memo line to P.O. Box 437462, Kamuela, HI, 96743. For more information, visit coquifreewaimea.org.