The Canary Islands are free of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, commonly known as the red palm weevil, a pest located in the archipelago since 2005 causing major damage to palm trees.
The archipelago now becomes the first country in the world to eradicate it. The CEO of Agriculture of the Canary Government, Cesar Martin, announced today at a press conference.
During his speech, Martin said last June marked three years since the last insect was found on the island of Fuerteventura, after which inspections carried out have not detects the presence of this beetle and, it can be declared as a zone free of the insect.
In a decade, they have inspected 706,081 palm trees, of which 388,210 were in Fuerteventura, 288,149 in Gran Canaria and 29,722 in Tenerife and have treated a total of 209,547 – 137,265 in Fuerteventura, 66,101 in Gran Canaria, and 6,181 in Tenerife.
The red palm weevil is currently one of the most damaging to palm trees in the world. Infested plants turn yellow, wither, and can eventually die. Native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Polynesia, it began its expansion 25 years ago by attacking date palms in South Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and Iran. It was introduced in North Africa through Egypt in 1993 where it continued moving into Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Central America, and California, always linked to the importation of palm trees.
One infested palm can be the beginning of a major infestation, because just a few insects can develop into thousands of individual weevils and overlapping generations in the same plant.