Control strategy against Rhynchophorus ferrugineus
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae – EPPO A2 List) was introduced into Spain in the early 1990s. Despite strict eradication measures, the pest has continued to spread around the Mediterranean Basin at a rapid pace, infesting essentially Phoenix canariensis in urban environments. For example, it is estimated that more than 30;000 palm trees have been destroyed in Spain during the last 3 years.
A new strategy to better control the pest has recently been proposed, in which the systematic destruction of the infested palm trees is replaced by a combination of measures including: 1) early detection of the pest by regular visual inspections and intensive use of traps; 2) mechanical removal of infested plant tissues; 3) chemical or biological preventive treatments of asymptomatic palm trees. In particular, it is stressed that the mechanical removal of infested offshoots and palms (before larvae reach the terminal bud) is in most cases successful because living larvae and adults are eliminated (before they can spread to other palm trees) and palm trees generally recover from this sanitation treatment. This new control strategy was applied in 2007/2009 in 2 heavily infested sites near Marbella (Spain) and gave satisfactory results. A reduction of insect captures was observed, no new palm trees were found infested, and most mechanically treated palm trees recovered (more than 80%). In July 2009, the region of Cataluña replaced the systematic destruction of palm trees by the mechanical removal of infested palms in its compulsory control programme against R. ferrugineus.
Anonymous (2009) Orden AAR/226/2009 AAR/226/2009, de 6 de mayo, de modificación de la Orden ARP/343/2006, de 3 de julio, por la que se declara la existencia oficial en Cataluña de la plaga del gorgojo rojo de las palmeras Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier, 1790), y se califica de utilidad pública la prevención y la lucha contra esta plaga. Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya no. 5377 (2009-05-12), 38461-38463. http://www.gencat.cat/eadop/imatges/5377/09124012.pdf
Ferry M, Gómez S (2008) Une nouvelle stratégie contre le charançon rouge des palmiers. Phytoma – La Défense des Végétaux no. 620, 24-28.
Ferry M, Gómez S, Barbado J, Hernandez F, Montero F (2009) Aplicación de una estrategia de control integrado del picudo rojo de las palmeras (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus). Phytoma España no. 206, 29-36.
Personal communication with Dr Michel Ferry, Station de Recherche sur le Dattier et l’Agriculture d’Oasis, Elche, Spain (2009-06).