When the red palm weevil first appeared in 2006, it was the shorter, fatter canary palms that were its target. In the Vega Baja, the trees along the Segura river at Jacarilla were the first to be infected. From there the beetle spread. Trees in public areas were treated but those in private gardens, especially holiday homes were missed. That gave the beetles the opportunity to spread and find new targets.
In Torrevieja, there are approximately 4,200 palm trees in public places. The annual job of pruning them started a few days ago and in the process, they have found trees that are infected with the red beetle including one of the palms on the promenade La Libertad which is over 30 years old. They have also found two others in the plaza de Europa and in the urbanization Calas Blancas, close to the La Loma health centre. All of the affected trees are date palms which originally were thought to be safe from attack.
In order to prune the tall Washington palms, they have to use a cherry picker and close the road. That is what they have been doing outside the Casino on the front at Torrevieja. At the same time as the trees are pruned, they are treated. Although it was originally thought that the beetles would not attack taller trees, having found date palms that have been infected, they are taking no chances.
What you may ask happens to the tons of prunings?
In the past the date palms were pruned in autumn and the dates that fell were sold in the market. Now that pruning takes place in winter, the material collected is taken away to recycle into agricultural compost.