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|November 20, 2017|
Offensive launched against destructive palm tree weevil
RIVERSIDE – (INT) - Scientists from UC Riverside and a Riverside biotech company are developing environmentally-friendly pest controls to save California’s iconic palm trees and protect the date palm industry.
Their target is the invasive South American palm weevil.
The South American palm weevil first spread from Mexico’s Tijuana area into San Diego County in 2011, where it is now killing Canary Island date palm trees. Surveys also have detected the weevil in Imperial County, as well as in the Yuma, Ariz., and Alamo, Texas counties.
At risk are several palm species, including commercial date trees that contribute about $89 million a year to California’s and Arizona’s economies. Other at-risk palms include Canary Islands date, coconut, African oil, sago and California fan palms.
The national market for landscape, decorative and potted palm trees is valued at more than $280 million a year.
A $150,000 grant has been awarded to fund research to combat the emerging pest.
Story Date: November 15, 2017