Red Palm Weevil

gargwarbNovember 6, 2010

The red palm weevil is a nasty little bugger with a wide host range. It attacks a broad range of palm genera but seems to prefer data palms (Phoenix spp.).

Keep an eye out for this guy:

It's a beast on palms in Asia and the middle east.

This is a new one for the U.S. and the first confirmed find was a few weeks ago in Laguna Beach. (Although the same arborist reports seeing another infested palm within 100 yds. of this most recent as long ago as two years ago).

For more information, you can click here.

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I'm kind of surprised that this isn't generating more comments in this forum, because it is a really big deal, and probably indicates that the infestation is already a lot more widespread than we know of at this point. It would appear that about the only palm not affected are Queen Palms, and that this insect can also live off Agaves, Beschornerias, and Yuccas as alternative hosts.

It would definitely be a big help if everyone were to look more carefully at palms in their neighborhood for signs of fronds that appear partially eaten on the newest emerging leaves, or where the symmetry of the foliage seems to be leaning to one side; as this is the best indication that the palm is under attack. One infested palm can generate multiple generations of weevils/beetles over the year's time it typically takes to kill a mature Canary Island Date or regular Date Palm, which are its preferred hosts.

For those who are really interested, there is a very good discussion on this pest in California and also what it has done to palms in Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Portugal, on the International Palm Society web site.

I know I am even worried about this pest, and I live over 500 miles away from the known current outbreak, but suspect this is already in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties, and probably west coast of Mexico as well. Palms that will probably be the worst vectors of this pest are those Phoenix and Washingtonia palms that are growing wild in canyons and creekbeds in southern California that are surrounded by such dense riparian vegetation that few will notice signs of infestation.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2010 at 4:34PM
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that are growing wild in canyons and creekbeds in southern California that are surrounded by such dense riparian vegetation that few will notice signs of infestation.
That worries me quite a bit too.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2010 at 9:01AM
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In Spain they have destroyed thousands of palm trees - i am having to fumigate my two canary Palms every month at a cost of 40 euros a pop to keep mine hopefully pest free. Their favourite Palms are the Canary Palm whilst they also now attacking the Washingtonias and other varieties. At this rate they will wipe out most of the Palms in the area. As a result of the economic crises most town halls here are doing nothing. Trees which have been attacked should be cut down and burned - however a drive down any avenue here you will see countless numbers of palms left to stand dead or close to death with several generations of these insects inside - you can actually hear them eating away inside the Palm.. its all so sad.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 6:55AM
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