Subtitle: Technology transfer: Forestales Febr
uary 2007 (Susi Gómez Vives and Michel Ferry)

This protocol wants to be a tool to help in the way we proceed detecting a palm tree affected by the plague of the red cuckold of the palm tree.

The recommendations contained therein have been established in accordance with the key conclusions from the experts participating in the Conference International organization in RPW 2005 in November in Valencia.

These conclusions are:

– It is impossible to guarantee that a palm tree is free of red prick only by visual inspection, even after several treatments with non-systemic insecticides.

– Importing palm trees from an infested area is a risk unacceptable introduction of the picudo to the areas free of this plague Today. This risk exists for international movements, national, regional and local palm trees.

– Adult trapping by using pheromone + coatrayent with smell of the plant should be included in any PRP control as an important tool for monitoring infestation and mass capture of adults, provided cheating is used properly designed and priming at the right time, a service of high-quality trap maintenance and ensure protection chemistry from the palm trees neighboring the olfactory traps.

– Palm trees in infested areas should be treated with systemic insecticides.


In based on these conclusions, we have developed precise recommendations for urgent action that takes into account the local context, numerous observations made on the behavior of the red cuckold in this context and exchanges with the best experts international plague.

It based on five key actions: repeated inspection of palm trees, rapid removal of heavily infested palm trees, preventive and curative treatments, adult cheating and measures Quarantine.

These recommendations will be subject to review in accordance with the results of research that the community of scientists is carried out for improvement.


When an infested palm tree is discovered, all palm trees should be inspected quickly within 1,000 m around.

The aim is to discover the highly infested palm trees and eliminate them Immediately. This first inspection will be followed by an inspection deeper and continuous of all the palm trees in the area.

In the case of the date palm, this inspection work should be accompanied by a systematic waste disposal campaign that should be initiated immediately when it comes to detecting an affected palm tree and being as brief as it is Possible. The little ones are a preferential place of ovoposition and therefore entrance door of infestations. Elimination children is a very effective way to discover a infested palm tree and serves later to improve inspection of Trunks. After the removal of the children, a treatment and the application of a mass in the wounds (see more forward).

With regard to the palm of the Canary Islands, the fact that this species attracts preferably to picudo (regardless of its size) makes all themeras of this species that are in the areasusly located and controlled and subsequently inspected regularly.

The picudo usually attacks them in the area of the terminal bud, present the advantage that the symptoms of attack manifest themselves earlier than in the datileras.

Inspections must be regular and continuous.

In areas where infested palm trees have already been detected, it should be establish a review protocol to quickly detect the onset of any suspicious symptoms.

Removing palm trees

The administration has decreed the removal of all palm trees infested by the red spike, their finding being obligatory Information.

As short-term eradication strategy, that’s fine, but thinking medium and long term, it would be necessary to take into account the parameters: the location of the insect in the palm tree, the damage done on it and the degree of infestation:

With respect to the date palm, the infestation usually begins in the area where the children are located. Very often,this infestation progresses very slowly (the date offers greater resistance than the Canarian).

When is detected at first, which can happen perfectly when cutting children or when inspecting the trunk, infestation can affect only to a very shallow area, in this case, a complete cleaning of this area (more chemical treatment and application of and the future development of the palm tree will not be affected.

From a phytosanitary point of view, the removal of these palm trees is totally useless and carries significant expenses also useless (deletion, renewal). When it comes to large-sized specimens, it also has serious implications for the preservation of heritage Landscape.

In infestation at the top of the trunk where they are located leaves, which usually happens in the case of the palm tree of Canary Islands, but it can also occur in the datileras,an assessment of the degree of infestation should be carried out.

In the case of infestations detected in an initial and non-serious phase, insecticide treatments by injection into the trunk or with irrigation water with systemic to eliminate larvae and adults who are inside. The spraying of leaf bases with insecticide will complete this treatment by killing adults who can emerge from the cocoons. These cocoons are on the surface of the bases of the leaves or between them and, very often, if the spray has been well done, the larvae, pupae and adults who are still inside of the cocoon can also be eliminated. These treatments should continued by regularly inspecting palm trees during the months to come.

The adoption of these measures rather than removing these palm trees represents no phytosanitary threat, is much less costly and could allow the preservation of landscape heritage.

No however, an infested palm tree must be absolutely removed if it is not can ensure with complete certainty that the treatments and inspections listed above.

The cutting and destruction of palm trees should be carried out with the guarantees to ensure that adults are not dispersed, which they can escape the palm tree in any of the processes that involves: logging, transporting and crushing or burying of remains.

The elimination procedure is normally entrusted to a company contracted by the corresponding regional government. There is no such thing as a common protocol, so in each Community it is carried out differently and in many cases nothing safe, as palm trees are cut down and transported for many kilometres without taking measures to prevent dispersion.

Chemical treatments

The treatments against the picudo should be part of a strategy global struggle (including all the points presented here) with a view to eradication of the picudo in a given area, within two to three years, but never with an isolated and particular use, because in addition to that its effectiveness would be almost zero action on the environment it could be devastating.

1) Products

Between Diazinon 24% micro-encapsulated 0.6%, is you’re using it for spray treatments, you’re having a biological persistence for 5 to 6 weeks. Fenitrotion 40% 0.175% microencapsulated, another of the authorized products, is also efficient but its persistence is less (two weeks).

These treatments can only act on the picudo population (larvae about to rot, pupae and adults that have just emerged or they have just reached the palm tree), but they can never penetrate the interior of the stipe or the rachis of the leaves where the larvae are located young people and adults who remain indoors.

To reach this population it is necessary to use systemic via root or insecticides injected into the trunk.

Carbaril is used injected into the trunk with relative efficacy.

Recently Imidacloprid 20% L has been authorized for use against picudo in ornamental palm trees at 0.05-0.075% applied in irrigation by dripping (8-10 l/ha) or by spraying the bud and stipe.

The use of imidacloprid injected into the trunk with good results has also been experienced.

2) Preventive treatments

Within a radius of 1,000 m around the place where infested palm trees have been detected, all young date palms, with children, as well as canaries of any size, should be treated as soon as possible. Treatment should be repeated a month and a half.

The insecticide treatment will consist of real showers (10 to 20 liters of solution per palm tree) are otherwise ineffective. For the date palm, the trunk (up to 2m) and the children should be treated. For the palm tree of the Canary Islands, the central leaves, the bases of all the leaves and the top of the trunk.

3) Healing treatments

About all in the case of the date palm, where the infestation usually made at the base, or from Canarian palms or washingtonias with entry of the infestation by the trunk, could be used Methods: Surface Infestation:

– Mechanical removal of larvae, cleaning of affected tissues, application of mass, chemical treatment.

Deeper, but not severe, infestation:

– Use of systemic injections or irrigation water, when irrigation is complementary chemical spray treatments such as described above.

Red prick’s trap

1) Trap for mass capture

Traps should be placed within a radius of 1000 m from the place where infested palm trees are detected: in the alignments of palm trees along the streets one every 50m, one by each roundabout with dates, in the parks and hollows one every 2,500m22.

As we know that some adults attracted by traps don’t fall into the themselves but are attracted by the nearby palm trees, thepalmeras located within a radius of 50 m of the traps should be treated regularly.

The massive capture will take place primarily from spring to autumn.

If after 12 months no new palm trees were detected in this area and no no prick would have been caught, the device could lighten and transform into a monitoring one (see below).

2) Traps for monitoring

As recommends the national and international community of experts on the red prick, a trapping device should be placed for monitoring in areas where the picudo is suspected to have arrived.

The density of the traps should be one trap every 3 ha.

Monitoring traps will be maintained throughout the year.

Equal that in the case of mass trapping, palm trees neighboring the traps should be protected with preventive insecticide treatments.

Characteristics of the traps

The traps consist of cubes of about 15 l and about 30 cm of high, with a lid. Four side openings are practiced spread out around the cube, about 9 cm2 of area and about 10 cm from the top edge of the cube. There are also 4 openings of the same dimensions in the lid.

What the surface of the cube is smooth or rough doesn’t matter much if, as advised below, the traps are partially placed Aware.

Suspended placed on the lid: a diffuser containing the pheromone 4-methyl-5-nonanol at 90%(w/w) and 4-methyl-5-nonanone at 10%(w/w)), and another ethyl acetate.

There are several suppliers of these substances.

Within of the trap is placed another smaller container containing water and dates, or sugar cane or pieces of palm trees in fermentation. There are in march investigations to fix which of these elements is the most and to find a product that can replace this mixture. At the moment it is known that adding these elements in rot is essential to increase the efficiency of traps.

The bottom of the bucket is covered with water to help maintain moisture and drown the spades.

Maintaining a high level of moisture in the cubes is a key element of the effectiveness of the traps.

It also places inside a funnel that fits perfectly by under the side openings of the cube. We have observed that the presence of this funnel is very important to encourage the fall of the picudo in the trap. Besides, it can keep him from coming out.

With this device and with the water at the bottom of the bucket, it would not be necessary to use any insecticides.

The traps will preferably be placed in the shade and never at the foot of a palm tree but halfway between the neighboring palm trees to the point chosen to set the trap.

The traps will be placed buried in the ground just below the level of openings. For our observations on the behavior of the picudo indicate that, preferably, the picudo approaches the traps and that the effectiveness of the traps is much better when the bucket buried as indicated above instead of being placed in Surface.

It periodically (at least every fortnight) to collect and write down the number of picudos caught, check that they’re still well complete if necessary the water level.

If are in the sun you need a weekly review during the summer. It you should renew the matter in fermentation every three weeks.

The attractants (pheromone and acetate) should be renewed periodically according to the manufacturer’s instructions, although it must be prudent and assess oneself the actual duration in the field.

The type of trap, the place and manner of placement of them as well as attractent types and the system of maintaining traps are of considerable importance over the effectiveness of the Trapping. If all of these factors are misapplied, the cheat can be perfectly ineffective and worse against-productive. It should follow very carefully the rules based on the experience gained in other countries.

Agronomic measures

In date palms, the children (preferred area of entry of the picudo) should be removed.

The wound should be protected with a spotic.

In general should always avoid pruning green leaves and peeling of the trunk, as they attract very strongly to females to perform there its setting. If the green leaves are to be pruned, they should be chosen always the winter months. The most dangerous period is from March to October (flight period), in these months a treatment immediately after pruning.

Exists hypothesis that the picudo is attracted by the smell of male inflorescences of palm trees, based on the fact that there is an insect’s preference for palm trees of this sex. Be it is appropriate to eliminate these inflorescences as soon as possible.

It should cover the wounds and holes present in the trunk with chew, silicone, latex or similar and if it is a very large area besides spray the injured area with insecticide.

No palm logs should be wet when watering, as they cause rots that can be used as a place of laying, or use spurs with long skewers that cause wounds as they climb the Palm trees.

Quarantine measures and eradication strategy

Palm transplants should be avoided in any area with the presence of picudo so as not to promote the dispersion of the pest.

If palm trees must be moved for any reason, all measures must be taken first disposal (elimination of children, systemic treatments by irrigation or injection, foliar treatments) to make sure that can’t contain picudos, these palm trees should benefit from a traceability system and special surveillance.

Likewise, the importation of palm trees from one infested area to another free of the pest is an unacceptable risk.

The huge increase in infested palm trees that have been detected in the Valencian Community, as well as in Murcia, Andalusia, Catalonia and dramatic in the Canary Islands completes the sad realization that the provisions adopted so far by the administration are totally ineffective.

Two unique heritage sites (the Palmeral de Elche and the wild palm groves of Phoenix canariensis in the Canary Islands), the important economic activity represents the production of ornamental palm trees, the tourist factor representing the landscape of palm trees in coastal cities is seriously threatened by the red prick.

On the basis of this dramatic finding, we recommend that the quarantine measures and eradication strategy adopted so far be urgent and seriously reconsidered at a regional, national, and European level with the assistance of international experts with high field experience in red cuckold control.

(Published in February 2007 (Hemeroteca-ed.186)