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Diagnosing Red Palm Weevil infestation is not easy in its initial stages, when the weevil occurs at low densities and causes limited damage. Any damage to the palm may be obscured by the general state of the injured or sickly palms that they prefer to attack.  However, once palms become properly infested, the symptoms become evident.  The period of infestation prior to symptoms becoming recognisable, as well as the type and degree of symptoms themselves, depends on factors such as the point of entry of weevils, the degree of infestation and the general health of the palm under attack.

Signs of infestation include:

damaged-crown-zoomClean cut, mutilated leaves, or even a broken frond emerging from the top of the tree’s crown.  Weevils do the greatest damage when they enter palms via the crown, where they damage growth of new fronds, eventually killing the palm.  Signs to look out for are new leaves in the centre of the crown that look sparse, lean or weak, or that show signs of having been eaten. Unfortunately, this common symptom of infestation is usually visible only long after the palm has become infested.

signs of infected palmHoles the diameter of a finger anywhere on the trunk, usually near the crown or frond bases. Tunnels and emergence holes produced by adult weevils will be especially visible in fronds after removal for inspection. It will also be possible to detect detritus produced by feeding larvae, and the presence of the larvae and pupal cases of the weevils.

Damaged-palmAn unpleasant odour of rotting vegetation and brown viscous liquid oozing out from wounds on the trunk surface.  Frond discolouration and, when infestation is advanced:

Noise of crunching, literally!, from within the trunk as the larvae eat their way into the tree’s lifeforce.

Play to hear the sound of Red Palm Weevils!

Courtesy of