Palmweevil plague control

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Red palmweevil
The red palmweevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) infestation was imported from Egypt (where the beetle has a natural enemy) to Spain several years ago during the high demand and low supply of palm trees. In 2006, the beetle was observed at the Costa Blanca for the first time. A few years later there were already tens of thousands of infected trees.

The danger of the red palmweevil plague is that it is often noticed too late. The palmweevil can already have drilled a way inside, and lay its 200-300 eggs that, within 4 days become larvae and eat the tree from the inside without theres anything to be seen on the outside. That is why it is recommended to cut the palms, meaning the whole trunk, so the drilling holes of the palmweevil are better noticed. Pruning and cutting however,

should be done in winter when de beetle doesnA?t move a lot. If you prune in summer it attracts the beetle because it smells freshly cut palm up to a distance of more than a mile!! It is therefore recommend the palms to spray the palms with pesticide directly after pruning.

How can you recognize the plague?
First of all by the animal itself:

It flies and moves quite slowly, and sits on the leaves to eat, so you can have a good look at it.

Secondly, by a strongly drooping leave. Then itA?s important to thoroughly inspect the palm. In case of multiple drooping leaves it is time to quickly take action before it’s too late!

There are different methods to control the infestation, however, we prefer spraying under high pressure with a special machine with pesticides, because we have achieved the best results with it in the past.

There are two types of control:

Actieve bestrijding
This is applied to a palm that is infested. The crown is broadly sprayed or injected with poison (up to 75 ltr.) and leaves and dead material may have to be cut. After 2 to 3 weeks the follow-up treatment is applied.

Preventieve behandeling
Here the palms ar sprayed every 6 to 7 weeks with pesticide (20-25 ltr.), so that they are protected against the red palmweevil.
We use a variety of pesticides to avoid the red palmweevil gets immune for the pesticides.

Often an infested palm seems to be doomed to die, however, as long as there are still new leaves shooting from the crown of the palm, it can survive the plague.

Which type of palms are in danger?
The palmtree that is meanly affected is the Canarian palmtree (Phoenix Canariensis).
To a somewhat lesser degree the date palm (Phoenix Dactylifera).
And only sporadically the Washington palm (Washingtonia Robusta).

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