Palm cultivation is of great economic and socio-cultural significance for the North Africa and Middle East countries while in south European countries, palm trees are cultivated mainly for ornamental purpose and are of great importance for the tourist industry.
Of all the pest infesting palm trees including the coconut palm, date palm and oil palm, the red palm weevil is the number one enemy world-wide.
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus adults are relatively large (2-5 cm) and rusty red in color
|The female lays approximately 200 eggs on new growth in the crown of the palm, at the base of young leaves, or in open lesions on the plant.|
The egg hatches into a white legless larva which feeds on the soft fibers, tunneling through the internal tissue of the tree.
At pupation, the larva will leave the tree and form a cocoon built of dry palm fibers at the base of the tree. The total life cycle takes 7–10 weeks.
Trapping the red palm weevil with Pheromones
The red palm weevil is highly attracted to two different types of odors: volatiles from damaged palm trees, and aggregation pheromones which male weevils release to attract other male and female weevils to palm trees that are suitable for colonization. The male produced pheromone is used since its discovery for capturing male and female insects and thus preventing them from colonizing uninfested palms. Neither the stressed palm odors or the weevil aggregation pheromone are very effective on their own. But in combination they are powerful in attracting weevils to traps.
The RPW pheromone is formulated in a polymeric matrix where from dissipates slowly and at a constant rate ensuring a steady and optimum evaporation rate of 4 to 7 mg per day over a period of 60 days*.
*Neither the weevil aggregation pheromone nor the stressed palm odors are very effective on their own. But in combination they are powerful in attracting weevils to traps.