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Most pests sneak into Hawaii with 40 products

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 11, 2013 at 10:19 pm •  Published: January 11, 2013

Pests that sneak into Hawaii can thrive in the state's subtropical warmth and cause extensive damage to farms and forests. Many native species aren't able to keep the introduced pests in check because they evolved in isolation and lack natural defenses against their alien counterparts.

Teya Penniman, who leads the Maui Invasive Species Committee, told lawmakers pests will only get worse if efforts to fight pests aren't adequately funded.

The pointed to the example of the coqui frog — an amphibian native to Puerto Rico that has colonized large parts of the Big Island and is also found in parts of Maui. She also brought up miconia, a weedy tree from South and Central American that is overrunning Oahu forests, making it harder for the land to absorb moisture and replenish aquifers.

"If we don't put adequate resources in invasive species now ... who's going to pay the consequences? It's going to be our children, our grandchildren," she said.