Half of the privately owned palm trees are infected
The red palm weevil.
This recent and very dangerous pest, originally from the south-east of Asia, has very quickly expanded all over the globe. Today it is present in all the Spanish Mediterranean coastal territories.
The main victim of this pest are the palm trees, specifically the canary palm tree (Phoenix canariensis) and the date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera). The females deposit their eggs (between 300 and 400 each) inside the soft tissue of the crown of the palm, where, once the larvae hatch, they will start eating the soft tissue of the inside of the tree.
This larvae, that can grow up to 5cm in length, use their very powerful jaws to eat the inside of the palm tree. This generates tunnel throughout the length of the tree that weakens and kills them, and, in some extreme cases, can lead to the total destruction of the tree.
Signs of the presence of the red palm weevil.
The red palm weevil affects the inside of the palm tree; its not easy to detect the symptoms of its presence until its too late.
The first symptoms of the activity of the larvae inside the trunk show up one year after the initial exposure, and they usually are:
-Asymmetry pf the crown
-Weakening of the eye of the palm tree
-Presence of the nests where the females deposit their eggs.
Another important indicator that your palm tree may be affected is if other trees in your area have been infected. This plague expands very quickly, if your neighbors have suffered it, you may be affected without knowing.
The Will-Kill solution.
The best possible treatment against this plague is prevention. Once the tree is infected, the symptoms are not visible until the damage is well extended and the recuperation of the tree is very difficult.
The preemptive fitosanitary treatment will be performed periodically during the whole year, and it will consist on the pulverization of insecticide over the plant, making sure the product reaches the interior of the base of the leafs, specially in the crown.
It is possible to treat the tree once it has been infected, but in order to do so the pest need to be detected in its initial phases. This treatment doesn't guarantee the recuperation of the infected specimen, and in needs to be done after a heavy pruning of the tree, where all the affected parts will be removed.
This pest doesn't have an annual life cycle, but a continuous one, repeating every 3-4 months.