10 Nov, 2010 @ 09:00
1 min read

Sexed up weevils are evil

A NEW weapon has emerged in the battle to rid Andalucia of its infestation of red palm weevils – sex!

Researchers are lacing nearby areas with the weevils’ own sex hormones in a bid to try and lure them away from the trees.

And a leading horticulturalist believes anyone who owns palms should have to lay pheromone traps BY LAW.

Gardener and weevil expert Lisa Taylor, 37, said: “If your garden has palm trees, then I think by law you should have at least two pheromone traps to stop the weevils spreading.

“People have said that we should stop buying palms from Egypt but it doesn’t matter as they will continue to spread from within Spain and the tree will get infested anyway.”

Taylor added: “Be vigilant and try to deal with it before it is too late.”

Affected resident, the historical fiction author Alistair Forrest, says the plague is overrunning his garden in Monda, near Coin.

In one 24-hour period he caught more than 20 of the pests.

He said: “I’m staggered by the sudden attack.”

The insects can fly 500m from palm to palm and females lay up to 300 eggs in the tree.

Once hatched the grubs bore into the interior of the palm, eating it from the inside out and usually killing the tree in the process.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es


  1. There is not much point to this article when you keep the address where the pheromone traps can be obtained to yourself. By supplying it you would have done a service to the community as a whole because palm trees are dying at a really alarming rate all along the coast. I am spraying mine at present but have lost 2 and many have died within 100 meters from my house.

  2. Gardeners may wish to protect their gardens and feel that there is a moral duty to assist in the curtailment of infestations, but the apathy shown by the authorities to encourage this is all too apparent. Unfortunately it is normally too late when it is noticed that a palm tree is infested and the best policy is to destroy the dying tree.
    Like other readers , the accessibility to treatments is not wildly publicised and that which is available is very costly.

  3. Apparently, there is a gadget which can detect the sound of the grubs eating their way through the heart of the palm. Otherwise, by the time you notice the infestation, it’s too late. The tree has keeled over. There’s a bad sweetish smell. Liquid leaks from the base of the tree (attracting wasps when the weather is warm). Short of some bug that eats the palm weevil (ask around in Egypt, I suppose), there’s not much to be done. I think we will have to plant something else while this plague lasts.

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