Invasive Weevil Threatens California’s Palm Trees and Date Industry

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Scientists from a University of California, Riverside and ISCA Technologies, a Riverside biotech company, will work to rise environmentally-friendly harassment controls to save California’s iconic palm trees and strengthen a date palm attention from a invasive South American palm weevil. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit determined in a 2014 Farm Bill, currently awarded $150,000 to account investigate to fight this rising pest. The FFAR extend is being matched by supports from UCR, ISCA, California Date Commission, and a Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association, for a sum $300,000 investment in addressing this pest.

A passed Canary Islands date palm tree (left) killed by a South American palm weevil subsequent to a healthy Canary Islands date palm display clever straight executive fronds in San Diego County, Calif.

The South American palm weevil initial widespread from Mexico’s Tijuana area into San Diego County in 2011, where it is now murdering Canary Island date palm trees. Surveys also have rescued a weevil in California’s Imperial County, as good as in a Yuma, Ariz., and Alamo, Texas counties.

At risk are several palm species, including blurb date trees that minister about $89 million a year to California’s and Arizona’s economies. Other at-risk palms embody Canary Islands date, coconut, African oil, sago and California fan palms. The inhabitant marketplace for landscape, musical and potted palm trees is valued during some-more than $280 million a year.

The partnership between ISCA Technologies and UCR’s Center for Invasive Species Research was grown to stop a widespread of a weevil class from Mexico and to exterminate it in a United States.

“The function of this weevil is modulated by a accurate set of naturally occurring compounds called semiochemicals, and we trust that this is a Achilles heel. We will emanate semiochemical formulations to guard and control populations of this invasive class in an effective, careful and environmentally-friendly manner,” pronounced Agenor Mafra-Neto, a CEO and owner of ISCA Technologies.

“This appropriation has arrived a vicious time. We need to get forward of a weevil advance in San Diego and this support provides a boost we need,” said Mark Hoddle, executive of a UCR’s Center for Invasive Species Research.

South American palm weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum.

“This harassment has a intensity to be harmful to a American date industry,” pronounced Sally Rockey, executive executive of FFAR. “The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is speedy by a partnership in this plan to assistance lessen repairs from this rising threat.”

South American palm weevils are challenging pests. They magnitude about 2 inches, and use their stiff, extending stouts, called rostrums, to gimlet holes in root bases in a crowns of palm trees. Females lay their eggs in these holes and sign them off with wax. After a eggs hatch, a larvae feed on a healthful plant hankie of combining leaves in a climax for dual months. Just 30 larvae can devour adequate hankie to kill a tree.

Beyond a earthy repairs that a South American palm weevil causes, a weevils also lift a red ring nematode, a little bug that causes fatal red ring illness in palm trees, creation each infestation potentially deadly. The red ring nematode, or roundworm, has nonetheless to be found in a United States.

ISCA and UCR will combine to rise and margin exam formulations with naturally occurring compounds, called semiochemicals, to cgange a function of adult weevils. One plan will attract a targeted weevils to tiny though fatal doses of a pesticide. The brew will be practical to trees in china dollar-sized dollops, regulating a pulp done mostly of food class oils and waxes. By attracting a bug to a pesticide, this record uses reduction than a hundredth of a volume of insecticide used by normal mist applications.

Source: UC Riverside

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