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sao marcos da serra, park

The Palm Tree Killer

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Under: nature


Since last year the Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus), called Gorgulho Vermelho in Portugal, has appeared in São Marcos da Serra as well. Anybody loving his palm trees should watch out!

This pest originated in India in 1891 and spread through Egypt to Spain in 2004. Since 2007 this beetle has entered the Algarve. At first it was only active at the coast, but  it is spreading rapidly inland. It now has reached the border to the Alentejo. The preferred food for the Red Palm Weevil (RPW) are date palms and the Phoenix Canariensis, which is the species that many of us love so much. 

The RPW spreads by flying (possibly several kilometers) with temperatures between 25 and 40 degrees C. It is a serious plague because all life cycle stages are spent inside the palm and often it is only noticed after a lot of damage has been done. The female beetle lays tiny eggs that turn into larvae within 2 to 5 days. These larvae can be between 1 and 4 cm large and they do most of the damage. After 1 - 3 months the larvae cocoon and after another 14-21 days the adult beetle appears.

The best defense is PREVENTION. Keep crowns clean and prevent accumulation of dead and decaying leaves. Avoid cuts and injuries to the palm. Only cut green leaves in the winter period and when absolutely necessary and keep a distance of 120 cm away from the base. Spray the wounds with insecticide or paint them.  Spray the palm every 6 weeks from March till the end of November. An adult palm should receive a shower of around 20 liters. An insecticide which is used a lot is Confidor.

If you have an infected palm tree, you can still try to rescue it in an early stage. You should spray every week with Confidor  and preferably have the tree injected in its trunk. Also it is useful to place a pheromone trap, which catches adult beetles.

If you are in a situation where you are thinking of buying an ornamental palm tree, it would be wise to choose a different species. 

For more information on this plague visit the following link:


In : nature 

Tags: red palmtree weevil  gorgulho vermelho  dead palm trees  palm tree pest 
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