Local Palm Trees May Face Serious Threat

Traps catch nasty insect that has potential to kill San Diego palm trees

By Marianne Kushi
|  Wednesday, Aug 17, 2011  |  Updated 2:08 PM PDT
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Local Palm Trees May Face Serious Threat

California Department of Food and Agriculture

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There's a nasty and destructive weevil that has the potential of killing San Diego palm trees.

Traps set in the South Bay have caught nine of the insects so far.

But the good news is that none of the bugs were carrying the disease that sickens the palms.

San Diego County Agriculture officials say that the South American Palm Weevil, considered the world's most destructive pest for palm trees, is coming over from Mexico.

The insect is dark in color and hard to see because it begins to infect the palm tree at the crown where the new leaves grow.

Symptoms include leaves with Swiss-cheese like holes and oval-shaped cocoons made of palm fibers.

Local officials want to avoid any infestation by disease-carrying weevils which could kill a palm tree within five months, says David Vellum, entomologist with the San Diego County Agriculture Department.

If you think you have a problem, call the California Pest Hot line, call: 1-800 491-1899.

There's also an informational meeting Thursday in Escondido from 3-5 p.m. at the San Diego County Farm Bureau, which is located at 1670 E. Valley Parkway.
 

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