Sunday, November 29, 2009

The picudo rojo

Orihuela city council have conceded that it is impossible to prevent the arrival of the Egyptian beetle that is devastating palm trees. It is very difficult to even control the spread of the insect which has attacked the grove of palms along the river towards Jacarilla.

Here in Bigastro you can see fluorescent spots painted on trees which are presumably some sort of code to show that they have either been infected or have been treated.

The only good news is that the beetle is not affecting the date palms, it seems to prefer Phoenix and Washington varieties. However these are the ones that are emblematic to the area and are widely planted in parks and gardens throughout the region.

Normally, cold weather would stop the activity of the beetles allowing time for fumigation to take place in Spring. However, the mild weather that we are experiencing means that the beetles are still very active. The treatment that is being employed in Orihuela is to inject poison through a tube into the heart of the trees and let it soak in.

Let us hope that they are successful. The parks in Orihuela would look bare without their palm trees.

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