Tip No.8 Palm Weevils in Spain

Since we came to Spain twenty years ago there have been three importations that have been disastrous for gardeners. Firstly the geranium moth that found it’s way into Spain in imported hothouse plants in the early nineties and within five years had decimated the wonderful banks of geraniums that brightened up Costa and inland gardens. Secondly the minero moth that attacks citrus fruits by boring into the leaves and more recently the red palm tree rhinoceros weevil Curculionido Ferruginosa which is killing off palm trees from the Canary Islands to Catalunya.
The first two can be controlled by regular spraying throughout the year but the latter has no cure todate.
The weevils drill a very small hole into the trunks of palm trees – often between the fibrous air roots at the base – and lay eggs inside the trunk. These hatch out into small grubs that slowly grow to adult size in the core of the trunk and the first sign of trouble – too late to take preventive actions – is the browning and dying of the central fronds/braches at the top of the tree.
The photographs show adult weevils and the grubs at various stages of growth.
Affected trees need felling and burning to ensure that no weevils or grubs survive. Some local councils have a help programme and may be able to deal with your affected tree/s free. Advice is also available from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on the following telephone numbers.
Valencia 630-041-522
Alicante 660-547-327

Castellon 630-041-522

The other garden pests that you are likely to find in your Spanish gardens and suggested preventive actions and cures are described/illustrated in our books Your Garden in Spain, Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain and Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain. And action is required now to prevent summer problems.
 By the way if you are visiting the new La Marina Commercial Centre near Ondara our books will be found in the Bookworld España store.
© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe February 2008.

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