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The red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, is a species of beetle. It is relatively large, between two and five centimeters long, and a rusty red colour. Its larvae excavate holes up to a metre long in the trunk of palm trees, and can kill the host plant. As a result, the beetle is a major pest of palm plantations, including the coconut palm, date palm and oil palm. Originally from tropical Asia, the red palm weevil has spread to Africa and Europe, reaching the Mediterranean in the 1980s, and was first recorded in Spain in 1994 and in France in 2006. The weevil was first reported in the western hemisphere on Curacao in January 2009.
This weevil usually infests palms younger than twelve years. While the adult causes some damage through feeding, it is the burrowing of the larva into the palm heart that can cause the most mortality. The adult female lays approximately two hundred eggs on new growth in the crown of the palm, at the base of young leaves, or in open lesions on the plant. The egg hatches into a white legless larva. The larva will feed on the soft fibres and terminal buds, tunneling through the internal tissue of the tree for about a month. At pupation, the larva will leave the tree and form a cocoon built of dry palm fibers in leaf litter at the base of the tree. The total life cycle takes about 7–10 weeks.
Symptoms of Infection
The crown wilts first, and lower leaves will follow, due to damage to vascular tissue. Major symptoms such as crown loss or leaf wilt are usually only visible long after the palm has become infected. By the time these symptoms are observed, the damage is usually sufficient to kill the tree. Sounds of the larvae burrowing and chewing can be heard by placing one's ear to the trunk of the palm, and some inspectors use electronic listening devices to detect early infestations.
The main control method is through the application of a systematic insecticide. Insecticide is usually applied through a funnel about 5 cm above the infested area of the trunk.
As the weevil prefers to lay its eggs in softer tissues, avoiding mechanical damage to plants can help to reduce infestation. Tarring wounds can reduce infestation.
Also, dragging of mature leaves should be avoided.
Areca catechu, Arenga pinnata, Borassus flabellifer, Caryota maxima, C. cumingii, Cocos nucifera (coconut palm), Corypha gebanga, C. elata, Elaeis guineensis, Livistona decipiens, Metroxylon sagu, Oreodoxa regia, Phoenix canariensis, P. dactylifera (date palm), P. sylvestris, Sabal umbraculifera, Trachycarpus fortunei, Washingtonia sp.). It can also attack Agave americana, and Saccharum officinarum.
Bangladesh, Bahrain, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, also Papua-New Guinea and Solomon Islands. It has most recently been reported in France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Morocco, and Aruba.
- ^ Rhynchophorus ferrugineus at European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO)
- ^ Rhynchophorus ferrugineus at North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO)
- ^ Ferry & Gómez. 2002. The red palm weevil in the Mediterranean. Vol. 46, No 4, Palms (formerly Principes), Journal of the International Palm Society. link
- ^ "Biologische bestrijding Red Palm Weevil" Ben Kleine, March 28th, 2009 on Amigo.com
- Red Palm Weevil Home
- Red Palm Weevil Control & Tips
- Red Palm Weevil Research Chair, King Saud University, Riyadh
- Sago worm or Sago grub.
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