Sunday, February 12, 2012

Orihuela is under siege

This time though it is not the Moors trying to capture the city, it is plants and insects.

Apart from rats, mosquitoes and cockroaches; the invaders include the processional caterpillar, the red palm weevil and the Arizona cactus.

Lat year the Environment Department spent 192,000 Euros controlling pests added to which the Health Department spent morey controlling rats and cockroaches.

Baños de Mula There are also problems with the paleras that produce chumbos figs, chumberas and agarves* which are being attacked by cochineal beetles that lay white grubs in them. These are not native plants and so are not on the list of protected species.

NB You’ll find paleras growing on the side of the road down into the town just before the water station.

Once the fruit are ripe, peel the skin off to reveal the sweet flesh inside. 
The fruit of the palera is sweet.

However, the major challenge for Orihuela is the red palm weevil because it is in danger of affecting the unique  palm forests of the area. A trip along the road to Los Montesinos will show you what happens to palms affected by the beetle. 

Last year, 36,000 Euros was spent on spraying trees in Orihuela and a further 13,600 Euros on felling affected specimens.

* We had that problem, the plants just pulled out of the pots leaving a disgusting sweet odour. As dug out the soil, I could see it it was filled with fat white grubs.

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