Rhynchophorus ferrugineus is a beetle native to Asia, where it is responsible for extensive damage to Cocos nucifera crops. As a result of trade in infected palm trees, the species has reached almost all countries in the southern basin of the Mediterranean Sea. The first report in Italy dates back to 2004 and then a real infestation began, from Sicily to the north of the peninsula.

Adults of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus are active both day and night. They are skilled fliers, able to reach new hosts within a few miles. As soon as they find a palm tree suitable for colonization, they stop and "tell" the swarm. Usually it is the male insect that carries out the explorations and it creates a harem of numerous females, which it attracts with an aggregation pheromone. One female alone can lay up to 200 eggs at a time, usually in the tenderest parts of the plant. After hatching, the larvae move towards the inside of the plant, digging tunnels thanks to the robust chewing apparatus and damaging above all the trunk area immediately below the leaf crown. A larva can kill a leaf, imagine the damage that the synergistic action of 200 or more larvae inside a palm tree can cause!

The larval period lasts an average of 55 days. The larvae usually pupate at the base of the plant, forming oval cocoons of palm fibers on the outside of the trunk. The complete life cycle, from egg to emergence, lasts on average 82 days.

Adults have a life span of about 2-3 months. The infestation of the palm by the Red Palm Weevil may have started some time ago without visible symptoms.

The advanced stages of the infestation manifest themselves with some recurrent signals: an acrid "smell", a gnawing noise similar to that of woodworm, the lowering of the leaf crown (which becomes like an "umbrella"), up to the total drying of the leaves and death of the tree.

These last stages also mark the maximum infestation by the Red Palm Weevil. When the palm tree dies, the red palm weevil colonies abandon it in search of a new plant to attack.

A specimen of Red Palm Weevil
A specimen of Red Palm Weevil

Control with Bioinsecticide

Control with bioinsecticide, we are convinced, is one of the most effective solutions in the fight against RED PALM WEEVIL, not toxic for humans or animals and even less so for the environment.

The product used is based on an entomopathogenic nematode particularly suitable against the overwintering larvae of various Lepidoptera of fruit trees but especially for our very dangerous Rhynchophorus ferrugineus. The nematode is a LIVE micro-organism that penetrates into the parasite through its natural openings. Once inside the body of the insect, the nematode releases bacteria that kill the host within 48 hours, allowing it to feed on the RED PALM WEEVIL carcass and complete its development.

The nematode attacks the palm weevil in all major biological phases (larva-pupa-adult). Once the food is exhausted, the nematodes come out from the body, now liquefied, of the weevil in a very large number, moving in search of new live pests. To move around, nematodes use as a vehicle the water often present in the inner fibers of the palm, so high humidity favors this "hunting" action. The predator becomes prey!

Control with chemical products is carried out with active ingredients authorized by the Ministry of Health. The insecticides normally used are contact, broad-spectrum, formulated as water-based micro-capsules, and are sprayed directly on the crown of the plant with large volumes of water.

The special formulation guarantees the operator's safety, the absence of unpleasant odors and a longer service life. Moreover, as there are no organic solvents present, these products guarantee a high selectivity towards the useful mite-entomofauna and a reduced environmental impact.