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The March of the Palm Beetle. Part 1
In 1994 the palm beetle, rhynchophorus ferrugineos,or picudo rojo, in Spanish, arrived in
dly, the news isn’t very good. Every day in the garden centre I give advice to, at least, one more gardener with an infected tree and I get many emails and phone calls from far afield. The costas are being devastated: palm lined promenades are looking very sad. Hugely elegant palms are collapsing. It was, initially, thought that the colder weather conditions of inland areas would protect their palms from the beetle but it hasn’t been the case; the beetle simply goes dormant when conditions are unfavourable to re-awaken, revitalised, in warmer weather. The loss is ours - our gardens and our landscape. Some people argue that the phoenix palms were introduced, were never indigenous to our country. This is true, but they have been around for a long, long time and we’ve become very accustomed to seeing them. Interestingly too, surveys have been carried out and one of the top tourist perceptions of
Some facts: the beetle was originally introduced, and is still being introduced, from
Forgive me all you readers on other costas, for quoting figures in Andalucia – it’s where I live and I follow their campaign. Figures in other coastal areas of
Certainly, on a more local level too, you’ll get little help from local Town Halls judging by phone calls I have received from far and wide. Affected trees should be reported to your local Town Hall, as the Junta are trying to keep a record of the path and numbers of palms infected. But lack of funding and equipment means that disposal of rotting trees will be largely left to individual palm owners. These should, correctly, be cut down in sections, bagged up and shredded so that the beetles cannot fly to infest other palms. The only other correct way to handle the problem is to burn sections of the tree, but ensure that you have a good fire going otherwise the beetles will just fly off to someone else’s palm.
So, as the beetle has been on our shores for 15 years, what has been done?
Remember those famous words - look out for next week’s thrilling instalment on the picudo rojo.