What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Can you plZ help me ?
Location: Southern California
March 18, 2015 12:06 am
Hi there, my name is Sonia and I’m really interested in knowing what’s this beetle … I have two big Palm trees and they are being affected my something, the Palm treas are more than 40 years of and we had to cut one of them , the leaves are falling and it seems to be like rotten in the base of the leaf , I saw this guy’s the other day wondering in the garden near the head of the Palm that got cut, and he died 2 days after, I also saw another death one yesterday and I was “attacked” by something that was black and make noise while in my garden ( I think it was another one of these )
Can you plz help me figure out that is making my trees ill ???
Signature: Sonia Villerias

Possibly Red Palm Weevil

Possibly Red Palm Weevil

Dear Sonia,
But for the dark coloration, all indications are that this is a Red Palm Weevil or Asian Palm Weevil,
Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, a species that according to BugGuide is:  “native to so. Asia and Melanesia, since the 1980s spread into many warm coastal areas around the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean(2); in our area, CA (Orange Co.; first reported in 2010).”  The damage to your trees is consistent with the damage caused by the Red Palm Weevil, though the solid dark coloration is unusual.  According to the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside:  “Economic Damage: Red Palm Weevil is widely considered to be the most damaging insect pest of palms in the world. RPW’s are usually attracted to unhealthy palm trees, but they will often attack healthy palms too. Red Palm Weevil larvae feed within the apical growing point of the palms creating extensive damage to palm tissues and weakening the structure of the palm trunk. Palms damaged by RPW may exhibit the following symptoms: (1) presence of tunnels on the trunk or base of fronds. (2) Infested palms may emit “gnawing” sounds caused by larvae feeding inside. (3) Oozing of viscous fluids from tunnels. (4) Appearane of chewed plant material (frass) at the external entrances of feeding tunnels and a highly distinctive “fermented” odor. (5) Empty pupal cases and the bodies of dead adult RPW in and around heavily infested palms, and (6) breaking of the trunk, or toppling of the palm crown.  Feeding damage leading to the death of infested palms is widely reported in areas invaded by this pest. The primary hosts of the Red Palm Weevil include 24 species of palms in 14 genera, including most of the common landscape palms found in California. The Canary Island date palm, one of the most conspicuous and prominent palms in California, is especially susceptible to attack. The Red Palm Weevil poses a very serious threat to California’s landscape plantings of ornamental palms if it were to become established here. Commercial date production is impacted in areas where RPW is established, resulting in tree death or reduced vigor in infested date palms. Red Palm Weevil represents a potential threat to California’s $30 million dollar date crop should it become established in date-growing areas of California. Ornamental palm tree sales are estimated at $70 million per year in California, and $127 million in Florida.”  The CISR also states:  “Adult Red Palm Weevils are very large beetles, attaining body lengths, including the rostrum of 35 to 40mm (1.4-1.6 inches). The weevils have a long, slender rostrum or “snout” which the female uses to penetrate palm tissue and create access wounds in which eggs are deposited. Coloration in Rhyncophorus ferrugineus is extremely variable and has historically led to the erroneous classification of color-defined polymorphs (variants) as distinct species. Coloration in the adult weevils is predominately reddish-brown in the most typical form. The Red Palm Weevil’s collected in Laguna Beach have displayed a distinct “red striped” coloration which consists of the dorsal surfaces appearing uniformly dark brown to black, with a single, contrasting red stripe running the length of the pronotum. Consequently, there are two different color types or color morphs for RPW, adults that are predominantly reddish in color, and the others that are dark with a red streak, like the Laguna Beach specimens.”  Your dark individual may represent yet another color variant.  We strongly urge you to collect a specimen and have it identified at your local Natural History Museum.

Possibly Red Palm Weevil

Possibly Red Palm Weevil

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: California

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