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South American Palm Weevil

Experts Warn Of Palm Killing Weevil


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UCCE San Diego and Riverside organized a workshop, on January 29th, in Bonita, to educate the public on the South American Palm Weevil.

The South American Palm Weevil is a species of snout beetle that has killed hundreds of Canary Island Date Palms, in San Diego, since it was first detected in March, 2016. 

Since then the beetle has spread from the US/Mexican border to as far north as Mission Valley. Although this bug is not small in size, an adult can measure about 1 1/2 inches long, it is often hard to detect until a healthy palm is already infested.

The good news is there are some very common signs you can look for; such as: 

  • Yellowing of the foliage
  • Flattening of the crown
  • Holes, tunnels, an accumulation of frass at the base of fronds
  • Pupal cases on the ground near the palm

So what can we do to prevent it from killing more palms? It is believed that the spread of this pest can be delayed with the fast detection and removal of infested trees. Chipping, burning, and burying infested material deeply can reduce the likelihood that SAPW will emerge and escape from infested palms. Keeping the palms healthy, reducing pruning activity, and the use of systemic insecticide may prevent infestations of the SAPW. However, research is still ongoing for the most effective control method.