On October 18, 2010 agricultural officials confirmed the first ever detection of Red Palm Weevil (RPW) in the United States. Considered to be the world’s most destructive pest of palm trees, the RPW was found in Laguna Beach, an area of Orange County, CA. Infestation of RPW in palms typically results in the death of the tree.
Red Palm Weevil
Red Palm Weevil, scientific name Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, is a major pest of palm trees, many of which are highly valued landscaping plants which generate approximately $70 million in nursery plant sales in California annually. Female red palm weevils bore into a palm tree to form a hole to lay eggs in. About 3 days later, larvae emerge and tunnel toward the interior of the tree, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients essential to the tree’s health.
A threat to a precious California commodity
“This invasive pest is a threat not only to our nursery growers and date palm farmers,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “It also endangers all of the decorative palms that are so common in our landscape and so much a part of the classic California backdrop. I would like to express my gratitude to the landscape contractor who originally reported this pest. He is a Good Samaritan who did the right thing when he took the time to notify local agricultural authorities, and he has given us a very valuable head-start in our efforts.”