13 Dec, 2010 @ 11:31
1 min read

Red palm weevil alert

THE INFESTATION of Andalucia’s trees by red palm weevils appears to be spreading.

The Junta expects the number of call outs to affected zones to reach a total of 725 by the end of the year.

Andalucia’s agriculture department believes the region’s whole coastline is already infected by the pest.

The town halls are overwhelmed by the scale of the plight and have no concrete action plans.

The Huelva Town Hall said the problem ‘exceeds’ its capabilities.

Cadiz council has estimated that treating or destroying each infected tree costs a massive 500 euros.

The weevils infiltrated Spain around 2004 via wood imported from Morocco or Egypt.

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.

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  1. “The town halls are overwhelmed by the scale of the plight”

    Town halls in Spain are overwhelmed by just about anything these days, let alone the weevil problem. The process of giving control to local municipalities in Spain has totally failed. Instead of getting some proper central government funding for the Palm tree disaster, and rolling out a coordinated plan, we just get more high speed train lines and other equally useless projects that do nothing to help the local economy, whilst all the local authorites are corrupt and bankrupt.

    Without palm trees, Spain is going to look, well, not very tropical at all; it will totally change the look-and-feel of Spain if all of these trees are lost. Weevils are also now attacking different varieties of Palm, so it is likely that other varieties will be harmed in the long-term too.

    Stupidly, the law has now been changed to blame the owner of the tree for the infestation, when it was the stupid governments fault for not properly vetting its wood imports in the first place. This law will just make people cut their trees down. Once again, no thought or common sense from Spain, and another meaningless law comes into existence.

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