This is the beetle inside your palm tree. Killing the tree if you not tackle it the right way.
The beetle that came to Crete with one thing on its mind, to kill your palm tree.
The Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus)
You may hear about it, or even worse see your palm tree decay. This beetle can spell disaster in your garden if not dealt with.
This big beetle, 35 to 40mm long, also known as the Asian palm weevil is the most deadly pest for almost all palm tree species. Nevertheless, in Crete the beetle seems to prefer the Canary Island date palm Phoenix Canariensis which is most infested. In other areas where the common date palm Phoenix dactylifera is planted, the weevil shows a preference also for that palm species.
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus comes originally from Asia, but immigrated over Africa to Europe and reached the Mediterranean in the 1980s. It has appeared for first time on the island of Crete 2005 in Hersonissos, Heraklion.
Its numbers increased rapidly and is also very common in the region of Apokoronas where it causes big damages.
What do I need to know to control?
The treatment involves a combination of control methods including removal of infected wood and applying insecticides.
- At first, remove all the dead parts of the tree. Then cut out the infected part and remove any larva. Burn the removed leaves and cut out residue.
- When the whole trunk is affected, remove the tree (including roots) and burn it,
- Can the tree be saved, then start spraying. This will prevent the egg stage.
How do they grow?
The female lies about 200-300 eggs in the crown of the palm.
The eggs hatch into white larvae that eat soft fibres and terminal buds. They bore into the interior of the palm feeding on the soft succulent tissues. After one to three months the larvae pupate in cylindrical cocoons. This stadium of life cycle needs 14 to 21 days and ends with the hatching of the new generation of beetles.
How do I kill them?
The earlier an affection is discovered the better the chance of rescue.
Thus Chloroplastes Company checks each palm regularly during the garden maintenance service. Affected palms get a treatment as fast as possible.
The treatment is mostly chemical with different types of pesticides depending on the case. Another option is the usage of pheromone traps that mostly catch female weevils. Moreover a cultural control during the maintenance can prevent weevil infestation.
Recommended insecticides are: cloripirifos, imidalcoprid
Recommended nematodes for palm borers: steiernema carpocapsae
Please be informed that any treatment with the suggested chemicals treatments should be carried out by qualified professionals, in accordance with health and safety regulations.
Consequently, Chloroplastes Company is doing these measurements during the garden maintenance service.
It is important to only to prune palms in the winter months. This is because the bugs are attracted to the sap that trees eject when pruned, and can infect a tree through ‘wounds’ in the trunk.
To protect against infestation, palms should be sprayed with chemical insecticides (clorpirifos 48%, imidacloprid) or nematodes (or a combination of the two) as a preventative measure. This should be done periodically between early spring and late autumn, usually about five treatments a year are required to prevent infection.
It’s virtual impossible for the average garden owner to recognise the early stages of the beetle infection. Ones you notice the leaves to die you’re actually too late.
It’s there where a maintenance contract is the life saver for your trees. A specialised gardening company knows where to look for during the regular maintenance intervals.
Chloroplastes has knowledge where and how severe the infection spreads throughout the region. With this knowledge we always advise to start with preventive spraying in order to save the trees.