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Red Palm weevils found in Laguna Beach, CA

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John in Andalucia

The discovery of a palm infested by the red palm weevil in Laguna Beach is really surprising and a very bad new.

The concerned authorities but also all the municipalities around Laguna Beach have to move very fast and especially to communicate strongly and very quickly on this event.

Unfortunately by experience here in Europe as well in other country (even in Israel with the new recent introduction of the RPW in West Galilea) , we know that authorities do not like to communicate when such problem occurs. This attitude has terrible consequences and it is clearly by absence or weakness of communication that the introduction of the RPW has lead to a huge disaster in Europe: more than 100.000 Phoenix canariensis destroyed and much more infested; more than 100 millions Euros wasted without any result because of the adoption of a counterproductive control strategy.

Because of an incredible imitation behavior, the concerned authorities of all the European countries have done the same mistakes. The RPW can be perfectly eradicated if, with the first discovered infested palm, a right global strategy is immediately engaged.

One key element of this strategy is early detection to avoid the dispersion of the pest. Phoenix canariensis is a preferential host for this pest and does not offer much resistance to its infestation. On the other hand, as a consequence of the specific infestation modalities of this pest on Phoenix canariensis, visible symptoms appear rapidly.

An intensive training must be organized rapidly to train plant protection personal, private and public palms owners, gardeners, palms professionals, and any volunteers to inspect palms to look for early symptoms. The cooperation of everybody is absolutely necessary. Concerned authorities in Europe have totally neglected and often rejected this cooperation. This behavior has constituted a very great mistake.

It is possible to avoid in California the repetition of the disaster that has occurred in all the european countries. A large experience has been acquired on the control of this pest in urban environment. Mistakes that have been repeated in the European countries can and must be avoided.

One of this basic mistake has been to consider that eradication of this pest was not possible. Such opinion is at the opposite of a sound analysis of the problem: there in no other solution except the eradication to save the palms. The red palm weevil is a quick killer. It has a very high multiplication capacity; it is capable to fly and the concerned palms are located in urban environment. In these conditions, for practical and financial reasons, reducing the impact of this pest by permanent treatments program is unrealistic and confining the weevil is impossible. Eradication is the only solution. It is well known that the success of an eradication program depends very much of its implementation as soon as the pest is detected.

So hurry up.

Best regards.

Michel Ferry

INRA

Scientific director of the Phoenix Research Station

Taking up Michel's comments, there are many ways we can help as a forum group, besides discussing the "state of the nation". How about weevil flyers? Stuck them up everywhere, like wanted posters. Get kids involved. These things don't bite, and they're slow. Catch a female carrying eggs and you get extra points! Every weevil caught from this very moment forward is a blessing. Get the IPS involved with the authorities. We've got all the knowledge right here. The IPS might even get a grant for a group to organise a strategy that involves pinpointing easy targets and raising public awareness. Has a CIDP been pruned in a parking lot recently? Is a neighbour doing the same? If so, intervene and tell them what is due to land on it very soon, and the outcome! I seriously plead with someone here to take this to the governor of California, and let it be known, that as of this moment, the greatest pool of experience and human resource is available here, on PalmTalk. It is our HQ, and the potential to merge the results of our efforts, from street level to cyber-conferencing is huge.

Even if the the authorities inject 1000's of trees in a dedicated campaign to be seen to be doing something, I'm pretty sure that's all they'll do. It's home owner's who may unwittingly become the main targets of RPW. Out of the way trees in quite streets and gardens and nurseries pose an equal risk. The proliferation resulting from a few secret breeding grounds will undo any assault by the authorities to protect their most prominent, and prized palms. Eradication means leaving no stone unturned.

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Dypsisdean

Any of you guys with connections to the media (like newspapers and TV) could alert them to a "great story." This is the kind of gloom and doom headlines that sells papers and attracts viewers. "California Palm Trees in Danger - Alien Bug Equals Total Devestation" or something equally as sensational. A few pics or videos from some members in Europe of dead groves and wriggling larvae, and some news hounds may take it and run with it.

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Tomas
Posted Yesterday, 09:54 PM

On the other hand, as a consequence of the specific infestation modalities of this pest on Phoenix canariensis, visible symptoms appear rapidly.

I do not agree with this. There is a group of palms close to where I live that were pruned in spring. Now, this without preventive treating means a death sentence to the plants, and I was interested if the proprietor did the treatment, so I was watching these palms with attention. On friday, two days ago I noted the first symptom, a first hanging leaf on one of those palms. Today, after some stronger, but not really strong, wind the central part including about 30 leaves was totaly collapsed. This for me is the evidence that when the first visible damage appears, the infestation may be in its final stage.

Another example, on a palm that is a propriety of a friend of mine and a palm lover (so supposedly well watched over), the same days the first "hanging" leaf appeared also an adult of the RPW fell from the palm.

I was told there are dogs trained to detect the smell of the presence of the RPW and a good sensitive acustical device can detect the larvae chewing inside the palm, these are the only preventive detections I know about.

Tomas

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John in Andalucia

Tomas, I don't think the quoted comment contradicts what you have just said. My interpretation also, is that by the time the symptoms are showing, it is already too late. Hence, the symptoms appear rapidly - not to be confused with symptoms that appear early.

Interesting the use of sniffer dogs! I've not heard of that before.

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palmpuppy

Any of you guys with connections to the media (like newspapers and TV) could alert them to a "great story." This is the kind of gloom and doom headlines that sells papers and attracts viewers. "California Palm Trees in Danger - Alien Bug Equals Total Devestation" or something equally as sensational. A few pics or videos from some members in Europe of dead groves and wriggling larvae, and some news hounds may take it and run with it.

I have thought almost the exact same thing. We are about ten miles from where the infestation was reported and, other than the OC Register, I have not seen it reported by the local news stations, much less, national. Most local news reporting is useless to begin with.

I would like to know if there is a connection between the RPW's host-of-choice and frequent, often aggressive trimming of said hosts?

Jackie

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AggiePalms

OK, so now that the RPW is here in the US, two questions: One is selfish, namely how do we keep it out of the Southeast; not contain it after it is seriously infesting the Phoenix etc., but how to prevent its dispersal to this region? Second, not so selfish, how do we in the SE help you in California (and overseas) to get rid of the now existing problem?

With other insect parasites (such as the Asian tiger mosquito) large scale "public works" such as chemical spraying rarely, if ever, impacts anywhere close to 100% of the pests. Planes spray my neighborhood every couple of nights most of the year, I run inside to avoid the chemicals, yet mosquitos have not become rare, even after all these years of spraying.

In nature, the problem is never there is too little pesticide occurring naturally. But, there are always predators/environmental conditions/whatever that control massive outbreaks of any parasites, from the Black Plague forward. Parasites are controlled in the native habitat, and only "break out" when introduced to another habitat...so what controls the RPW in SE Asia? There are still large palms there, even after very long term existence of the RPW,

Let's find what works naturally it SE Asia. And use it.

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DoomsDave

Any of you guys with connections to the media (like newspapers and TV) could alert them to a "great story." This is the kind of gloom and doom headlines that sells papers and attracts viewers. "California Palm Trees in Danger - Alien Bug Equals Total Devestation" or something equally as sensational. A few pics or videos from some members in Europe of dead groves and wriggling larvae, and some news hounds may take it and run with it.

I have thought almost the exact same thing. We are about ten miles from where the infestation was reported and, other than the OC Register, I have not seen it reported by the local news stations, much less, national. Most local news reporting is useless to begin with.

I would like to know if there is a connection between the RPW's host-of-choice and frequent, often aggressive trimming of said hosts?

Jackie

This is a story that will require aggressive reporting, research, and hounding hounding etc.

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Ferry

I think that I will probably surprise most of you with the following statement that is at the opposite of what has been said and repeated by so many people and so many times and constitutes now a disastrous cliché: palm leaves pruning must not be presented as a bad measure at the contrary. In a high percentage of cases, it is thanks to pruning operation that infestation has been discovered and can be discovered early. I insist that early detection allows to forbide weevil dispersal or to stop new pest dispersal and in the same time allows to save the palms.

The prejudice regarding pruning is shared by the majority and sometimes even includes in official regulations !

Why pruning has been interpreted in a so erroneous way?

It has been said and that is right that wounds resulting of pruning produce odors (kairomones) that attract weevils. They attract weevils but only if there are weevil beside that have adopted a migration behavior. They do not create weevils by spontaneous generation! The wounded palms will be preferentially attacked but, if no pruning had been realized, weevils in displacement would have anyway infested not wounded CIDP. With CIDP, wounds are not at all necessary to attract weevils and to facilitate infestation. So the only consequences of pruning in an area where palms are pruned and other not is that pruned palms will be, in average, preferentially infested. But pruning or not pruning will not change at all the final number of new infested palms.

To annul the effect of this preferential attraction, pruned palms can be treated by preventive treatments. As a consequence, these treated wounded palms will contribute to reduce the migration populations of weevils because they will be killed on these treated palms.

In infested area, all the palms must be deeply inspected by opening of inspection windows in the crown. So you can see that pruning must be considered not at all as a bad measure but on the contrary as an indispensable measure.

To complete this issue, I want to react to Tomas contribution when he says that on pruned palms he noted the first symptom of infestation with a first hanging leaf. On no pruned palm, this symptom would probably not have been so visible. Immediate sanitation should have been implemented on this palm not only to try to save it but mainly to stop weevil dispersal. I repeat: to eradicate this pest the key work is to detect early new infested palms and to sanitize them immediately to stop weevil dispersal.

In Roma where Tomas is located, the situation is very bad with many highly infested palms abandoned without any treatment. These palms are spreading weevils in a massive way. Consequently, new infested palms are infested in the same time by a high number of females and consequently many grubs are tunneling a great number of leaves that explain the collapse symptom observed by Tomas. But I want to insist on one point: such symptom does not mean at all that it is too late to move, at the contrary. Such palm contains a high number of grubs and adults. They must be eliminated rapidly before flying away for the adults or metamorphosing to adults for the grubs. In many cases, in virulent hot spots at the difference of the places recently infested or where infested palms are rapidly sanitized, brutal leaves collapse does not mean that many weevils have already escaped nor that the palm can be saved.

Indeed, at the opposite of another totally erroneous cliché constantly repeated, the weevil infestation of adult CIDP does not start on the trunk or is not focused to reach quickly the terminal bud. In fact, the grabs reach the terminal bud or the trunk at the end, when 2 (in very virulent hot spots or in case of massive infestation) to 4 biological cycles have occurred, that means at least 8 month after infestation start. So even a palm presenting the collapse aspect described by Tomas can perfectly be sanitized and recover.

Best regards.

Michel Ferry

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Nigel

I would like to know if there is a connection between the RPW's host-of-choice and frequent, often aggressive trimming of said hosts?

Jackie

YES !!! The sap from freshly cut leaves is a beacon for them, and they come from miles away to breed. The weevil is programmed by nature to lay its eggs in damaged trees or diseased trees. A weevil doesnt differentiate between a damaged tree and a pruned tree.

Maybe there is a repellent that could be used to paint on the pruned leaf, maybe parrafin would suffice.

Edited by Nigel

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mlovecan

Any of you guys with connections to the media (like newspapers and TV) could alert them to a "great story." This is the kind of gloom and doom headlines that sells papers and attracts viewers. "California Palm Trees in Danger - Alien Bug Equals Total Devestation" or something equally as sensational. A few pics or videos from some members in Europe of dead groves and wriggling larvae, and some news hounds may take it and run with it.

I think that's an extremely good idea. If you can nip this problem in the bud, you can avert a very serious disaster. I am sure you can tell by the emotion illustrated by us living in Southern Europe, this is a very devasting problem we all wish this problem had been fixed long ago.

We are only five years in. The ministry of agriculture invited all hotel owners on my island to discuss the problem when it was first encountered. All the hotel owners were invited to hear about RPW ( the hotelshave the majority of the pams here ) - not one hotel owner showed up!

I am doing some work in Oman. RPW is here also. I am planning on hitting some date groves on the weekend ( Friday and Saturday here ). I ave not seen a single palm showing RPW damage, yet - nor seen the little buggers flying. They don't seem to landscape with CIDP's here - just Ph. Dacts. plus a few royals and coconuts. If I can locate a devastated palm grove somewhere, I will be sure to photograph it.

Regards

Maurice

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John in Andalucia

Last year I trimmed a 12ft Washingtonia robusta in our garden, and within 2 weeks, and for a further 10 days or so, it attracted over 12 weevils. The tree was clean prior to that, although I agree with the comments regarding the lack of differentiation on the part of the weevil. However, pruning is often the only time that municipal palms are going to receive a simultaneous, often unscheduled inspection. The idea of pruning being wrong has arisen because the palm tree owner may exasperate the situation by being unaware of the consequences - in that weevils are switched on to the smell of sap. The unenlightened palm lover who fails to monitor a tree in his garden following pruning, or who maybe goes away on holiday, is inviting a secret breeding ground and perhaps diverting the migrating weevils from a bigger, more conspicuous location. In that respect, I don't consider it contradictory to say that pruning is wrong and harmful. I just think it is more prudent to try and contain the infestation in one area. To me it would make sense, given the weevil's preference for breeding and nesting, over their flying skills! I'm not a weevil "behaviourologist" but perhaps there is a way to curtail their migratory instincts. All palm trees should be inspected, but I don't agree, especially in such early stages as the Californian outbreak, that pruning should be condoned as a means of inspection. When the Icelandic volcano erupted, every plane in Europe was grounded as a precaution, and I think the same message should go out to local palm tree owners, in the hope of containing the dispersion. In Europe it is too late, but for California, I'm wondering if it's not possible to keep them in one place, like bees around a hive, and thus buy a little more time.

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palmpuppy

So there is a disagreement on pruning vs not pruning and I see both points of view. Is there a product that can be painted or sprayed on the wound created after pruning to prevent the adult from laying eggs or even smelling the sap in the first place?

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John in Andalucia

So there is a disagreement on pruning vs not pruning and I see both points of view. Is there a product that can be painted or sprayed on the wound created after pruning to prevent the adult from laying eggs or even smelling the sap in the first place?

A few people on the forum, including myself, have warned against pruning palms at the beginning of spring. We are mostly Europeans, and if the infestation reaches the same scale in California, palm owners would probably recommend the same. At European levels, it is more to do with self-preservation, and not wanting to invite your neighbours weevils into your own trees. We inspect our trees anyway, don't we? So pruning would be seen as unnecessary provocation. Hence, it is best to avoid pruning at the most "active" time of the year. In fact, you will be doing all your neighbours a favour, based on the assumption that they care about their palms and inspect them regularly.

On the flip side, and to support Michels theory, IF you are feeling vigilant and would like to purposely ATTRACT the weevils to your palm tree with the intention of removing a few individuals from the weevil population, whilst at the same time inspect your tree more closely, then it could even be viewed as beneficial to the cause. Pruning is vital if you find a few adult weevils clinging to the trunk, because until you strip away a few fronds, you can't be sure that you didn't miss one.

In Europe, it's small consolation to trap a dozen or so weevils and make a dent in your local weevil population, but right now in California, people in the infected area might just as well set up palm "beacons" by pruning individual specimens, and then watching vigilantly, in the hope of enticing airborne, adult weevils. That would be my strategy, at least, as the outbreak is hopefully, still in its infancy. I wouldn't advocate the pruning of any Phoenix or Washingtonia in California, that couldn't be monitored daily. Using a sealant on a palm is not going to prevent RPW from sniffing out a freshly pruned tree. They'll be attracted to the pruned fronds as well, so they would have to be burned immediately. Of course, if things get really bad, it won't matter if you prune or don't prune. By then, the Red Palm Weevil will have every palm tree in its radar, with some "pings" just slightly bigger than others. I think that's the point that Michel was making, but I don't think it's one that California should adopt at this stage.

OK Ron, time to scream!

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GTClover

The arrival of Rhynchophorus to America is bad news indeed!

I think the Government of the Canary Islands did a good job. The insect was found on two islands in 2005. Everybody knew the tragic impact in Southern Europe and was worried for all the Phoenix canariensis of the islands, including the natural palm groves. The weevil was caught at the very start and a large operation was started against the bug. Loads of public money was given for this project. The RPW was not allowed to spread to the rest of the archipelago and now it is close to being erradicated.

In 2006, 296 palms were removed because of the RPW. In 2010, just three palms had to be killed ! Now... this is not yet erradication, I hope they keep the grants until the pest is really gone.

Visit this official site about RPW in the Canary Islands: http://www.picudorojocanarias.es/

Carlo

Sounds like you guys got away, clean..

Mommy!

Please, Californians who read Spanish go and give a look to that link! So far, the "Canarian method" is really a triumph.

The keys are a massive control over the whole territory and a determination to kill the palm before the weevil kills it. Any attempt to save an affected palm for one more season is a step toward the spread of the bugs.

Carlo

And for those who don't read Spanish, try this Google Translate will do it for you translate.google.com to read it in English

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mlovecan

So there is a disagreement on pruning vs not pruning and I see both points of view. Is there a product that can be painted or sprayed on the wound created after pruning to prevent the adult from laying eggs or even smelling the sap in the first place?

The year after RPW arrived in my village, I would see one or two of them buzzing around my Washys everyday.

The first time I heavily pruned my washys, the RPS's swarmed around each one - frantically flying around the fresh cuts.

Confused by this, I did a little googling and found I did two things wrong. The first was the pruning and the second was grabbing the pruned fronds by the leaf end ( the easiest way to not get cut ) and dragging them across the tiled surface ( cut petiole dragging across the tile ) surrounding my house and back to the community dumpster behind my house.

I still prune - but at the absolute minimum. I don't drag them anymore - I now throw them in the trunk of my car and take them over to the neighbouring dumpster.

I make every effort to only prune once the petiole is brown. When it is still green, I use a product called "neem oil" which the RPW do not like at all ( painted over the green cut petiole ).

As an experiment, I put neem oil on a freshly opened pheromone bait. It definitely did the job.

Regards

Maurice

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Ferry

I see that my explanation has not been well understood. I am not totally surprised because propaganda against pruning has been very strong. I hope to be clearer this time.

When, after pruning, you see a lot of weevils that are going to your pruned palm that means only that weevils in migration had been preferentially attracted to your palm and that is quite normal. And of course it is bad for your palm if this one has not been protected. But if you consider not your palm but the whole palms population in the area of your palm, weevils in migration would have infested in this area as many palms as determined by their migration purpose and capacity… and, between these palms, perhaps also your non pruned palm. It is well established that weevils are perfectly capable to infest palms with all the leaves. So for the whole area, if you have decided not to prune, the balance will be similar or perhaps worse with a higher number of infested palms.

I repeat, as it has been demonstrated so often, pruning is the only way to detect early infestation. When an infested palm is detected, that means that other infested palms are present in the area either because one at least has been the weevil source or because from the infested source some weevils have infested other palms than cannot yet be detected. We have to look for these palm and the only way to detect them at an early stage of infestation is by pruning. Not to look for these infested palms is to adopt the ostrich policy.

To consider also only his own palm or palms constitute also a mistake that unfortunately has been repeated in many places. If you palm is located in an infested area, the only way to save it is to collaborate with all the other owners to eradicate the pest. Otherwise, one day or another, your not pruned palm will be also inevitably infested.

Carlo Morici has advised many times here to the people who understood spanish to look at the canarian site regarding the fight against the RPW. He is right: canarian islands constitue one of the rare places where the integrated strategy to eradicate the pest has been applied. I am convinced that this strategy can be perfectly applied in California. The important point is to apply it as soon as possible to reduce the efforts and means needed to apply it and so to increase the chance of rapid success.

But, once more, we cannot wait that symptoms of infestation appear, we have to look for these symptoms and there is no other way than pruning the palms to check them.

I hope that I have been more clear and convincing that time.

Regards.

Michel Ferry

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John in Andalucia

I see that my explanation has not been well understood. I am not totally surprised because propaganda against pruning has been very strong. I hope to be clearer this time.

When, after pruning, you see a lot of weevils that are going to your pruned palm that means only that weevils in migration had been preferentially attracted to your palm and that is quite normal. And of course it is bad for your palm if this one has not been protected. But if you consider not your palm but the whole palms population in the area of your palm, weevils in migration would have infested in this area as many palms as determined by their migration purpose and capacity… and, between these palms, perhaps also your non pruned palm. It is well established that weevils are perfectly capable to infest palms with all the leaves. So for the whole area, if you have decided not to prune, the balance will be similar or perhaps worse with a higher number of infested palms.

I repeat, as it has been demonstrated so often, pruning is the only way to detect early infestation. When an infested palm is detected, that means that other infested palms are present in the area either because one at least has been the weevil source or because from the infested source some weevils have infested other palms than cannot yet be detected. We have to look for these palm and the only way to detect them at an early stage of infestation is by pruning. Not to look for these infested palms is to adopt the ostrich policy.

To consider also only his own palm or palms constitute also a mistake that unfortunately has been repeated in many places. If you palm is located in an infested area, the only way to save it is to collaborate with all the other owners to eradicate the pest. Otherwise, one day or another, your not pruned palm will be also inevitably infested.

Carlo Morici has advised many times here to the people who understood spanish to look at the canarian site regarding the fight against the RPW. He is right: canarian islands constitue one of the rare places where the integrated strategy to eradicate the pest has been applied. I am convinced that this strategy can be perfectly applied in California. The important point is to apply it as soon as possible to reduce the efforts and means needed to apply it and so to increase the chance of rapid success.

But, once more, we cannot wait that symptoms of infestation appear, we have to look for these symptoms and there is no other way than pruning the palms to check them.

I hope that I have been more clear and convincing that time.

Regards.

Michel Ferry

Michel, if weevils are attracted to the tree of a private individual who is not familiar with RPW, or who goes away on holiday, and if at the same time, the local authorites are pruning, inspecting and treating trees on public ground nearby, do you not agree that the dispersal to a "private" nesting ground will only make detection more difficult?

My point is that an un-pruned tree is possibly less noticeable to a weevil than a pruned tree. Two pruned trees, one on public ground, the other in the garden of an unsuspecting owner who then goes away are both equal targets, no? I'm just using simple logic. I don't know if it applies to weevil behaviour, but we do know that pruning palms will send out a "mating call" to all weevils in the area.

You can't rely on private owners to be as vigilant and pro-active as the authorities, and if Europe is to be an example, neither can you rely on the authorities to engage in assisting private owners. Whilst pruning is necessary for early detection, shouldn't Californians be discouraged from pruning if a similar scenario is played out?

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Moose

So there is a disagreement on pruning vs not pruning and I see both points of view. Is there a product that can be painted or sprayed on the wound created after pruning to prevent the adult from laying eggs or even smelling the sap in the first place?

A few people on the forum, including myself, have warned against pruning palms at the beginning of spring. We are mostly Europeans, and if the infestation reaches the same scale in California, palm owners would probably recommend the same. At European levels, it is more to do with self-preservation, and not wanting to invite your neighbours weevils into your own trees. We inspect our trees anyway, don't we? So pruning would be seen as unnecessary provocation. Hence, it is best to avoid pruning at the most "active" time of the year. In fact, you will be doing all your neighbours a favour, based on the assumption that they care about their palms and inspect them regularly.

On the flip side, and to support Michels theory, IF you are feeling vigilant and would like to purposely ATTRACT the weevils to your palm tree with the intention of removing a few individuals from the weevil population, whilst at the same time inspect your tree more closely, then it could even be viewed as beneficial to the cause. Pruning is vital if you find a few adult weevils clinging to the trunk, because until you strip away a few fronds, you can't be sure that you didn't miss one.

In Europe, it's small consolation to trap a dozen or so weevils and make a dent in your local weevil population, but right now in California, people in the infected area might just as well set up palm "beacons" by pruning individual specimens, and then watching vigilantly, in the hope of enticing airborne, adult weevils. That would be my strategy, at least, as the outbreak is hopefully, still in its infancy. I wouldn't advocate the pruning of any Phoenix or Washingtonia in California, that couldn't be monitored daily. Using a sealant on a palm is not going to prevent RPW from sniffing out a freshly pruned tree. They'll be attracted to the pruned fronds as well, so they would have to be burned immediately. Of course, if things get really bad, it won't matter if you prune or don't prune. By then, the Red Palm Weevil will have every palm tree in its radar, with some "pings" just slightly bigger than others. I think that's the point that Michel was making, but I don't think it's one that California should adopt at this stage.

OK Ron, time to scream!

post-1729-017115500 1287480779_thumb.jpg

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Mats

'Just1MorePalm' alerted us to this in another thread and I thought I'd copy/paste the entire article here.

This is a News Release from the California Department of Food and Agriculture website here.

RED PALM WEEVIL, WORST KNOWN PEST OF PALM TREES, DETECTED IN LAGUNA BEACH

Agricultural officials confirm first detection of palm tree pest in the United States

SACRAMENTO, October 18, 2010

Agricultural officials have confirmed the detection of a red palm weevil in the Laguna Beach area of Orange County - the first-ever detection of the pest in the United States. The weevil is considered to be the world’s worst pest of palm trees. An infestation typically results in the death of the tree.

“This invasive pest is a threat not only to our nursery growers and date palm farmers,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “It also endangers all of the decorative palms that are so common in our landscape and so much a part of the classic California backdrop. I would like to express my gratitude to the landscape contractor who originally reported this pest. He is a Good Samaritan who did the right thing when he took the time to notify local agricultural authorities, and he has given us a very valuable head-start in our efforts.”

In response to the original contact by the landscaper, state and local agricultural officials, working in partnership with the USDA, began an extensive, door-to-door survey in the neighborhood and are setting about 250 traps to determine if an infestation exists. Protocols for this pest call for an initial survey covering a 1.5 square mile radius around the detection property, resulting in a trapping array covering nine square miles.

The red palm weevil, scientific name Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, is a major pest of palm trees, many of which are highly valued as landscaping plants, generating approximately $70 million in nursery plant sales in California annually. Palm trees are also used for producing crops and marketable agricultural commodities including coconuts, dates and oils. In California, date palm growers harvest an annual crop worth approximately $30 million. The vast majority of these farms are in the Coachella Valley region.

The red palm weevil is native to Southeast Asia and has spread throughout the Arabian Gulf. It is found in parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Oceania. Prior to the detection in Orange County, the closest confirmed infestation to the United States was in the Dutch Antilles in 2009, the first report of the pest in the western hemisphere. It was also confirmed in Aruba in 2009.

Female red palm weevils bore into a palm tree to form a hole into which they lay eggs. Each female may lay an average of 250 eggs, which take about three days to hatch. Larvae emerge and tunnel toward the interior of the tree, inhibiting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients upward to the crown. After about two months of feeding, larvae pupate inside the tree for an average of three weeks before the reddish-brown adults emerge. Adults live for two to three months, during which time they feed on palms, mate multiple times and lay eggs.

Adult weevils are considered strong fliers, venturing more than a half-mile in search of host trees. With repeated flights over three to five days, weevils are reportedly capable of traveling nearly four-and-a-half miles from their hatch site. They are attracted to dying or damaged palms, but can also attack undamaged host trees. Symptoms of the weevil and the larval entry holes are often difficult to detect because the entry sites can be covered with offshoots and tree fibers. Careful inspection of infested palms may show holes in the crown or trunk, possibly along with oozing brown liquid and chewed fibers. In heavily infested trees, fallen pupal cases and dead adult weevils may be found around the base of the tree.

Residents are encouraged to report suspect infestations by calling the CDFA Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

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palmpuppy

'Just1MorePalm' alerted us to this in another thread and I thought I'd copy/paste the entire article here.

This is a News Release from the California Department of Food and Agriculture website here.

RED PALM WEEVIL, WORST KNOWN PEST OF PALM TREES, DETECTED IN LAGUNA BEACH

..........

Residents are encouraged to report suspect infestations by calling the CDFA Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899.

Thanks for posting this in this thread.

Jackie

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Ferry

A quick and categorical answer to the interesting message of John regarding pruning or not pruning: pruning is indispensable to detect early infestation and to stop quickly weevil dispersal BUT the interest of this measure is totally dependent of a real and determined implementation of an integrated strategy of eradication. This strategy has a sense only if it is applied by everybody and everywhere with the support of the concerned administrations (especially the municipalities) but also the force of the law. This strategy must be collective otherwise it will never succeed. If it is applied by John and not by his neighbor, it is totally useless. The neighbor will lose his palm but John will have dedicated money and efforts for nothing because he will lose also his palm. Weevil that is a quick killer capable to multiply very quickly and to move from one palm to another will definitely win.

Against this pest, if we want to save our palms, there is no other solution than to eradicate it quickly and, to reach this objective, there is no other solution than the application of an integrated strategy adopted by everybody and everywhere.

Any other approach means wasting money and efforts for nothing. More than 100 millions of Euros have been wasted for nothing in Europe in less than 5 years!

Numerous owners, professionals and municipalities after having tried to protect their own palms and having wasted money for this, are now convinced that there is no solution if it is not collective and supported by the concerned authority. In France, thanks to the efforts of the public and private owners as well as of the professionals and some environment protection association a decree has been published recently that imposes the application of an integrated eradication strategy to all the concerned persons and institutions.

Best regards

Michel Ferry

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palmazon

Well-stated. It will curious indeed to observe how all the interested parties work together to manage this. Thank you for your input.

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trioderob

any updates as to if new infestations have been found ?

:(

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Dypsisdean

A theoretical question for some of the European "experts."

Suppose one (or a few) mature weevil(s) finds a mature CIDP in month #!. How many months will it be before a new batch of weevils begin leaving that tree to infest others? And how many months will it be before the initial palm is dead? In other words, is only one generation of "hatchlings" needed to kill the tree? Or are several generations "hatched" within the same tree necessary over time?

It seems to me hard to believe that one weevil could lay enough larvae at one time to kill an entire mature CIDP, unless some of the first adults stuck around and laid more "eggs" in the same tree. Or if the initial distress caused more weevils to be attracted to the tree for one last "party."

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Takil-Explorer

I have seen in an article that they also can infest and breed in other plants like Agave. So bassically they could spread from one area to another area if there are plenty Agaves. And maybe also Yucca. Both are widespread in the South West I guess. And what if they get the chance to reach Mexico? In California you seem to get the right way to fight them of, but in Mexico I wander what will happen if they reach wild palmpopulations!

And maybe those weevils get also spread when they land on a truck or car and get to an uninfested area. And if thats a female full with eggs...

Good luck,

Alexander

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gyuseppe

In My City in the months of September is the month when all infected trees die suddenly

in spring when it begins to get hot the red palm colonizes new phoenix and throughout the summer are eating into the plant, outside the plant does not present any symptoms in late summer then suddenly die in 2 / 3 days

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mlovecan

Temperature is obviously very important.

In our really high temps( weeks of 40+ ),tree death rate slows right down we don't see so many trees die - the heat really must slow the weevils down. In the Italian RPW microwave site they mentioned death of RPW occurs at about 51-54 degrees - we do see 51 at least once per year.

We have them flying all year round now - the dead stumps are continous breeding grounds for RPW. We get huge numbers of deaths both in September and February - March. No idea how long it takes here since I'm sure new infections are happening constantly.

Southern California has at least as warm winters as us. If RPW takes hold, I think you can expect RPW movement year-round also.

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TonyDFW

Here are some recent images from the Med. Pix from Greece and Italy

6292be2c.jpg

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38ccff11.jpg

63597607.jpg

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tinman10101

Just saw a news story on this last night on local Southern California News Channel. The story is pretty much everywhere and I do believe that the Dept. of Agriculture is taking it pretty seriously, especially for all the date palm nurseries in the Inland Empire.

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Hollywood Palms

Hi All,

Please find attached Guidelines For Red Palm Weevil from the USDA. This was sent to me by my contact at the Department of Agricultural Commissioner in L.A. County. I had to downsave it, as it was too big to be a regular attachment. It's a bit ugly. If you want the color version, feel free to PM me and I will send it to you.

I've sent the County the link to this page so they can contribute to the discussion if they so desire.

I have also emailed Emily Green at the L.A. Times several times to encourage her to report on this.

David

Guidelines For Red Palm weevil_PB.pdf

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gyuseppe
The story is pretty much everywhere and I do believe that the Dept. of Agriculture is taking it pretty seriously,

this is good news !

We in Europe are very Following Closely to see what happens in California

(sorry for my English)

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Takil-Explorer

Southern I guess only a very cold winter can kill them in Europe! But then it has to get several degrees below zero for a longer time. And the most southerly parts never get that cold so long!

Alexander

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Takil-Explorer

In Southern Europe I mean.

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Takil-Explorer

Its a shame Souther Europe will probably loose that very symbol of the Med, all those old CIDPs! And other palms as well I guess.

Alexander

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The-ZonePusher

I hope that it is stopped before getting bad. It will be a sad day when CA has no/few palms.( Does RPW attack all palms or only certain types of palms?) Anyway I hope that Europes RPW problem can and will be fixed as well.

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palmpuppy

So there is a disagreement on pruning vs not pruning and I see both points of view. Is there a product that can be painted or sprayed on the wound created after pruning to prevent the adult from laying eggs or even smelling the sap in the first place?

......

Using a sealant on a palm is not going to prevent RPW from sniffing out a freshly pruned tree.

Just to be clear.... repellents such as neem oil (not a sealant) as described by Maurice, is not what you are referring to here.

Jackie

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DoomsDave

WHERE ARE THE NATURAL ENEMIES?

WHAT ARE THEY?

Getting a bit, well, you know . . .

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palmpuppy

WHERE ARE THE NATURAL ENEMIES?

WHAT ARE THEY?

Getting a bit, well, you know . . .

Yeah, I know what you mean :hmm: I keep finding myself looking up into the tops of my palms. But we have 70 plus palms....

This is very depressing. I don't want to plant any more palms until we learn more or see what's going to happen.:(

Jackie

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DoomsDave

WHERE ARE THE NATURAL ENEMIES?

WHAT ARE THEY?

Getting a bit, well, you know . . .

Yeah, I know what you mean :hmm: I keep finding myself looking up into the tops of my palms. But we have 70 plus palms....

This is very depressing. I don't want to plant any more palms until we learn more or see what's going to happen.:(

Jackie

Natural enemies are all there really is in true pest control.

Nothing, NOTHING else matters.

Going crazy.

What are they doing in South East Asia? Aren't they (scientists) even looking?

While the bugs ravage?

I can't believe it.

Just can't.

Sure don't want to.

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Mats

WHERE ARE THE NATURAL ENEMIES?

WHAT ARE THEY?

Getting a bit, well, you know . . .

Natural enemies are all there really is in true pest control.

Nothing, NOTHING else matters.

Going crazy.

What are they doing in South East Asia? Aren't they (scientists) even looking?

While the bugs ravage?

I can't believe it.

Just can't.

Sure don't want to.

A simple Google search for 'natural enemies of red palm weevil' turns up this .pdf file as its first result.

And the file from the USDA that David 'Hollywood Palms' attached to his reply about 9 posts up has more good info.

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