The Red Palm Weevil problem in Portugal will never be resolved

The situation regarding the invasive Red Palm weevil will never be resolved in Portugal (in my humble opinion) due in part to the apathy and laziness of the few. No action was taken when it first arrived in our area two years ago by some property owners as infested trees on their land were left to die untreated and the weevils then moved on to other host palms. Too little has been done too late and eventually the landscape of the Algarve will change as many of these majestic palm trees fall victim to the weevil and die.

Palm Tree infested with Red Palm Weevil, Western Algarve
Palm Tree infested with Red Palm Weevil, Western Algarve
Palm tree infested with Red Palm Weevil, left to die - Western Algarve
Palm tree infested with Red Palm Weevil, left to die – Western Algarve

Some property owners cut down their infested trees and just dump them in the countryside, or on waste ground without any consideration for others or the environment. Their action is totally irresponsible and has no doubt contributed to the rapid spread of this invasive beetle.

Palm tree infested with Red Palm Weevil dumped on waste ground
Palm tree infested with Red Palm Weevil dumped on waste ground
Red Palm Weevil, Western Algarve - Portugal
Red Palm Weevil, Western Algarve – Portugal

Palm trees can be treated to help prevent infestation but for some this may not be an option due to ongoing costs etc

This post is inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo challenge. This week’s theme is Resolved

Further information about the Red Palm Weevil can be found

44 thoughts on “The Red Palm Weevil problem in Portugal will never be resolved

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  1. Well at least I know why my hair went gray. Bloody coffee!
    Why not send an email to the entomology dept of a local university?
    Maybe some of the students would like to çome on board’and lend a hand as part of a thesis or something? ‘
    I know things are a bit slow in Poraland, as my BIL is always reminding me, but there may be some little university Bug – er who is looking for Kudos for his doctorate. You never know, right?


      1. Write an email in ingrish then press translate and it’ll become porkancheese.
        Besides, you can bet most of those Varsity folk speak ingrish.
        My stepson and his wife do,my BIL does and so do a fair few of my Portuguese relatives.
        Anyhow, was just a thought.

        Almost beddybyes time down here in SA.
        Listening to Joe Jackson, Look Sharp….remember him?
        Have a sooperdooper weekend.


          1. Same time zone? Hmmm….I am in Johannesburg…but my wife thinks I’m sometimes in the previous century….and sometimes even ‘Off-Planet” 😉


  2. Hi Piglet!
    The problem is that a decent sized tree like the ones in your picture cost about €1,000 to remove and dispose of, either privately or by the Camara (council). The fronds (?) have to be taken to a special council dump and this costs several hundred euros – so the locals (and probably some ex pats) either let them die or do the job themselves and dump them anywhere.


  3. Hi Piglet! All those dead, once beautiful, palmtrees can make me cry. The big problem is that people only start noticing something is wrong with the tree when it is too late to do anything about it.
    The best thing is to try and prevent! The current way to do this is treat the palmtree every month with Confidor. Also you should prune the tree ONLY in December or January. As soon as temperatures rise to 25 degrees C. the weevils can fly and they smell by the cuttings where more trees are.
    Another problem is that most people do not know anything about all of this and are just caught by surprise when their tree dies.
    Also a lot of trees “in the campo” are dying. The (mostly old) Portuguese living there (or quintas that are left) also do not have the knowledge, nor the finances to do anything about it.
    It is very sad, but I do not see a solution either……


    1. Hi Marianne, you are right “The best thing is to try and prevent!” I think money is a big problem everywhere in Portugal and disposal and/or treatment of these trees as chip the duck says below, is not cheap


    1. I know, but it seems like prevention was impossible. Palms in Spain and France have also been affected, There is no border control and these bugs can fly along way apparently. Byt the time it arrived here on the west coast people in the know should have been aware of how to deal with the problem.


  4. I agree with you, if more folks would take better cautions when disposing of the infested trees, it’s possible that the weevil could’ve been controlled better. It’s such a shame.


      1. I’m in Australia, we have a lot of palms here in Queensland, but I have never heard of this before or seen palms with anything like this weevil, not in my area of Oz anyway.


  5. What a darn tragedy! Hard to believe the municipal councils, or what there is instead in the country, do not have an eradication programme! Far too ‘manana’ for this greenie! Impossible to believe people concerned do not care!!!!!!! Am beginning to understand our Border Security programmes on all fronts of travel: bugs are one of the first things the officers look for!!


    1. Hi Eha, some camaras (local councils) care but it’s like everything else it depends on whose in charge and how much money they have to spend. Good for your border control! trouble is in Europe the borders are open. From memory though the original beetle came from Egypt. I do depair when I see the devastation it has caused, but it is true to say…
      God grant me theserenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courange to change the things I can and the wisdowm to know the difference!
      In the meantime I can have a bloody good rant 🙂


  6. Piglet, on the website you linked to at the bottom it says:

    “Biological control is the use of natural enemies, like predators, parasites, and pathogens to kill a pest. Red Palm Weevil is attacked by a variety of different natural enemies including parasites and small predators that attack weevil eggs, while bacteria, fungi, and nematodes can kill weevil larvae. Many of these biological control agents do not provide adequate control of Red Palm Weevil in the field.”

    I WISH scientists would spend more time finding out how to make these natural predators of the red palm weevil more efficient in wiping it out… a subject so much more deserving of funding instead of some of these stupid studies like “does drinking coffee make you go gray faster” etc.

    Sometimes the natural world needs a little help to keep the checks and balances,, we should be doing more to assist before beautiful nature like these trees are lost.


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