†W. A. Whistler, The Samoan Rainforest (Isle Botanica, Honolulu, HI, 2002).
‡W. A. Whistler, “Botanical inventory of the proposed Tutuila and Ofu Units of the National Park of American Samoa” (Tech. Rep. 87, Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, Univ. of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, 1994).
FAQs about Crops and Pe‘a How to prevent pe‘a from eating crops? Harvest fruit before they ripen. Pe‘a eat cultivated fruit such as papaya or breadfruit, but not until fruit are ripe or over-ripe. Since most fruit grown for the market are harvested before they ripen, there should be little or no conflict. If fruit must be tree-ripened, protect fruit through bagging or other means. Growers in Asia shine bright lamps below fruit a few days before harvest to keep bats away.
Do pe‘a eat green fruit?Pe‘a sometimes eat green (un-ripened) fruit when ripe fruits are scarce, such as after a hurricane or during a drought, but they normally like ripe fruit. Therefore, if it’s not ripe and not hanging from a tree, shrub, or vine, there’s a good chance another animal is involved. Rats, birds, and pigs eat green and ripe fruit. In Hawaii, Red-vented Bulbuls and Indian Mynahs eat cultivated fruit.
Who’s eating my fruit? It’s important to understand a problem (who, where, when, why, how) before trying to fix it. Look carefully to figure out the best solution. Most birds eat during the day, roof rats eat at night, and pe‘a eat day or night. For pe‘a vao, look for triangular-shaped tooth marks and discarded fruit pulp under the tree. If you hear bats in coconut groves, they are usually feeding on flowers not fruit. Roof rats can be heard at night in trees. Look for roof rat signs such as (a) hole in skin with fruit hollowed out, (b) rat nests in trees, or (c) black banana-shaped droppings about ¼ - ½ inch long (1 cm). For birds, observe the site to see which birds are present. Keep in mind that many different animals could be eating the fruit. For example, birds may be eating insects on fruit previously damaged by rats. So if you see a bird, it doesn’t necessarily mean the bird is causing the damage. Keep track of what you see.
Bats are beneficial. Farmers generally accept a small percentage of crop damage, especially if it’s infrequent. Pe‘a help the forest in many, many ways. They pollinate flowers and transport seeds around which helps with forest re-growth. Timely harvest is one of the keys to an environmentally sustainable farm.
Recommended reading M. S. Fujita, M. D. Tuttle, Flying foxes (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae): threatened animals of key ecological and economic importance, Cons. Biol. 5, 455-463 (1991).
W. H. Kern, “Control of roof rats in fruit trees” (Tech. Rep. No. SS-WEC-120, Univ. of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 1997; http://polkhort.ifas.ufl.edu/documents/publications/Rat%20Control%20in%20Fruit%20Trees.pdf).
Appendix E. Summary of habitat components and range map for Guam and CNMI.