The picudo rojo beetle continues to threaten the palm trees in the Vega Baja. The beetle has already spread to Orihuela, Pilar de la Horadada, Bigastro, Jacarilla, Almoradí, Catral, Los Montesinos, Callosa de Segura and Torrevieja. Hopefully , the cold weather will slow down the activity of the beetles and allow councils time to fumigate trees in public places.
However councils are powerless to do anything about the trees on private property. Several people on our estate have already found picudo rojo beetles in their gardens.
You remember that one of our neighbours visited the town hall and was directed to the agricultural supplier on the by-pass opposite the Cepsa garage. They sold her insecticide to use on her palm tree. The instructions were to pour the diluted liquid down the centre of the palm where the insect would be burrowing and laying its eggs. Since she did this, five dead beetles have been found on the terracing nearby. Another neighbour treated his palms and found yet another dead beetle on the gravel by one of his trees.
If you have palm trees in your garden, particularly if they are Canary Phoneix then you really need to treat them sooner rather than later. The beetles love this type of tree with its shorter fatter trunk which contains a higher sugar content than other palms.
Of course there are a number of holiday homes with phoenix palms where the owners are not here and are possibly unaware of the danger their trees are in. If you know of anybody with palm trees in their gardens, it would be as well to let them know. Apart from the fact that they could well come out next spring to find their trees dead, they are in danger of allowing the beetle to spread.
If your trees are starting to die from the centre and the palms are turning yellow, then it is too late, the beetle has already done its work and you MUST inform the Town Hall who will arrange for the tree to be destroyed. Cutting or burning affected trees is apparently worse than doing nothing because the beetle detects this and looks for another tree to attack. Affected trees need to be crushed to destroy the beetle.