The palm weevil is a serious pest of palms. Native to southeast Asia, it is the pest that causes more damage to palms than any other. The insect pest has spread to most continents, including Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and even North America. Weevils on sago palms cause extensive damage and many gardeners are asking how to control palm weevils. Read on for information about palm weevil damage and sago palm weevil control.
Palm Weevil Damage
Weevils on sago palms can kill the plants. The eggs don’t damage the plants, nor do the weevil adults. It is when the weevils are in the larva stage that palm weevil damage occurs. The life cycle of the palm weevil begins when the adult female weevils lay eggs on or near the sago palm trees. The larva hatches out of the eggs in a few days and bore into the living tissues of the tree. The weevils stay in the larval stage for up to five months, digging holes in the trees. The damage from weevils on sago palms can be so severe that the trees die within six months. When the larva stops eating the living wood of the tree, it builds a cocoon out of palm fibers. The cocoons of weevils on sago palms are usually located inside the trunk of a leaf stalk. The adult emerges from the cocoon after about 20 days and sets to mating and laying more eggs.
Sago Palm Weevil Control
Anyone with a sago palm needs to know how to control palm weevils. Palm weevil treatment involves a combination of control methods including removal of infected wood, applying insecticides, and trapping the adults. When you want to remove weevils on sago palms, the first thing to do is to remove the dead parts of the tree. Then cut out the plant parts infested by larva with a sharp cutting tool. If the entire trunk is affected, you cannot save the tree. Your best bet to prevent the weevils from spreading to other trees is to remove the infested plant, roots and all, and burn it. If the tree can be saved, the second step in sago palm weevil control is to spray the palm with insecticide. You can inject systematic insecticides directly into palm trunks as well. Applying systematic insecticides to the soil helps to eliminate the weevils in the egg stage. When you use insecticide as a palm weevil treatment, you must repeat the application two or three times every year. Another effective method, often used along with insecticide, is trapping the adult weevils. To use this sago palm weevil control method, you use aggregation pheromones that attract the females. Place these pheromones in a container together with insecticide to kill the weevils.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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