Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Pest prevention to save palm trees

Scientists in the EU have found new ways to prevent damage to palm trees from invasive palm tree pests.
Pest prevention to save palm trees
The red palm weevil and palm borer moth are pests responsible for the destruction of thousands of palm trees across Europe yearly. Introduced into Europe by importation, the larvae of these pests bore into palm trees to feed, often resulting in the death of the plant.

The PALM PROTECT (Strategies for the eradication and containment of the invasive pests Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier and Paysandisia archon Burmeister) initiative developed reliable methods to detect, eradicate, control and contain red palm weevil and palm borer moth populations.

Scientists tested various methods of detection such as acoustic monitoring, thermal detection, visual detection and dogs. They determined that acoustic monitoring provided reliable early detection while thermal detection was only effective during later stages of infestation. Visual detection was not always effective, but dogs can reliably detect the pests if they are correctly trained.

Researchers also tried using baited traps to capture these pests. They found that a synthetic kairomone (pheromone-like chemical) could be as effective as the use of bait consisting of pheromones, plant material and molasses.

It is estimated that billions of euros are lost due to damage caused by these invasive species. This research can limit the environmental and economic impact of these pests.

Related information


Palm trees, pests, red palm weevil, palm borer moth, acoustic monitoring, thermal detection
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