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The Picudo Rojo Weevil Disaster

Over the last ten years Mallorca’s palm trees have been suffering from an invasion of the Picudo Rojo, a weevil or snout beetle known by its Latin name as Rhynchophorus ferrugineus.

In the last two or three weeks I have seen some 40 dead palm trees in Manacor and Palma which had been alive and well six months earlier. Five areas in Mallorca are particularly affected by the beetle’s invasion: Manacor/Algaïda, Palma, Santanyí, Santa Maria and Pollença/Alcúdia.

The beetle is a quite attractive looking insect but in its effect on palm trees from the Phoenix canariensis to Phoeniceae and Washingtonia, it is quite devastating. One can rarely see the beast as it is deeply burrowed into the heart of the palm tree. When one sees that the palm tree has dead and dry leaves the damage is already done and the tree can not be saved.

Last Sunday at the Oratori de Sant Blai, the Govern de les Illes Balears presented ample information about the disease including some live larvae, nests and the fully developed beetle. Sadly, no remedy is known to prevent the disease from spreading. Some experts say that in twenty years time there will be no palm trees left in Mallorca. Sad, really.

The photos were taken near Campos, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: February 5th, 2012. The time was 12:39:08 and 12:38:46, respectively.

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