According to the International Palm Society, the Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Red Palm Weevil) has somehow become the most important pest of the date palm in the Mediterranean area.
I do not dispute the seriousness of the matter nor the vileness of the harmful insect but, I am alarmed about the careless handling of noxious fumes in Felanitx in the attempt to exterminate the small invertebrate. I have it from a reliable source (a local commercial tree surgeon) that the Ajuntament de Felanitx enlisted the help of a specialist toxic pest raider from Palma a few months ago to have all public palm trees in Felanitx doused with potentially lethal chemicals. This activity is undertaken in the early hours of the morning at regular intervals, possibly on a monthly basis, between the months of March and November. Amongst the insecticides used are products such as Tiametoxam, Dimetoate and Chlorpyrifos. It is known that breathing or ingesting Chlorpyrifos, for instance, may result in a variety of nervous system effects, ranging from headaches, blurred vision, and salivation to seizures, coma, and even death, depending on the amount and length of exposure.
I would actually prefer the Rhynchophorus ferrugineus to survive, even at the expense of a large number of palm trees dying, to us or our children being harmed by the uncontrolled use of questionable and toxic substances. The Plaça d’Espanya in Felanitx, for instance, is regularly fumigated in a clandestine and irresponsible manner in the early hours of the morning, just hours before the six bars around the square are frequented by scores of adults having their morning coffees, including yours truly, and not long before dozens of children make their way to their local school or guardería (nursery school).
The photo was taken in Felanitx, Spain. The date: October 9th, 2010. The time was 00:10:40.