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The Almond Tree Pest


Mallorcan farmers are very concerned about their almond trees. Apparently, quite a number of almond trees are dying as a result of a tree pest which might be caused by a xilófago insect.

I understand that xylophagous insects are a particular breed of tiny beetles or termites that feed on wood such as in trees or the bark of trees. An invasion of these insects on one particular tree will lead to an incurable state of sickness of the tree and eventually the tree will die within a few months.

The almond tree xilófago seems to be a so far unknown subspecies of tree termites. Why this little creature has focused on almond trees is not really clear; the matter is still under investigation. In any case, the disease seems to already have affected a few thousand almond trees in Mallorca, covering an area of a few hundred hectares, in particular in the Son Carrió and Sant Llorenç part of the island, but not only there. Farmers criticise the Conselleria de Agricultura of the Govern Balear for not doing enough and for being too late with any information.

I am not certain that the tree that I photographed has died from the very same infliction, but dead it is as far as I can see.

If this epidemic outbreak spreads island-wide, officials in agriculture are worried that it could mean the end of Mallorca’s almond blossom season the way we know it. Let’s hope that the xilófago disease does not spread quite so unseemingly.

La crisis, the heat waves, the car bomb, the almond disease. Whatever next?

The photo was taken near Felanitx, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: August 3rd, 2009. The time was 18:05:02.

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