60 per cent of the Canary palms of Murcia have been destroyed in the last 15 years *
Over the last 15 years or so residents of the Region of Murcia and other areas of Spain along the Mediterranean coastline have unfortunately become so used to palm trees being destroyed by the red palm weevil that the issue is barely considered newsworthy any more, but in the city of Murcia great efforts are still being made to ensure that trees survive the pest and are as well protected as possible.
The first sighting of the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) in Spain was in 1993, in Almuñécar on the coast of Granada, where it most probably arrived from northern Africa, although the species is originally a native of south-east Asia. From Granada it gradually spread to other parts of Andalucía, Murcia and the Comunidad Valenciana, and by 2005 trees were dying from infestation in the palm grove of Elche, which is the largest in Europe.
The fight against the red palm weevil goes on in Murcia
Over the years thousands of date palms and canary palms have had to be destroyed, and although pesticides which eliminate the weevil have been developed it has proved impossible to completely eradicate the insect responsible for the decimation : in the case of the Canary palm, by 2018 it was estimated that 60 per cent of all trees in the Region of Murcia had been lost.
In this context the council in the city of Murcia has made an early start to its annual campaign to spray trees this year, operating only at night in order to minimize the inconvenience to members of the public in parks and gardens – the only exception is the daytime treatment being administered in the palm grove of Santiago y Zaraïche, according to councillor José Guillén.
The reason for the early start to the 2019 campaign is that the days of high temperatures in March and April made it likely that the reproduction season of the red palm weevil would begin earlier than usual, and in order to maximize efficiency extra staff have been taken on to ensure that all of the areas at risk are adequately treated.
Image 2 : El Palmeral de Santiago y Zaraïche (Huermur)
* pas encourageant tout ça, sauf que sur la photo ça fait pas très pro !