New Initiatives for Management of Red Palm Weevil Threats to Historical Arabian Date Palms

Muhammad Mukhtar, Khawaja G Rasool, Michael P. Parrella, Qaiser I Sheikh, Arnab Pain, Luis Vicente Lopez-Llorca, Yousif N. Aldryhim, R. W. Mankin, Abdulrahman S. Aldawood

Abstract


The date palm is an important part of the religious, cultural, and economic heritage of theArabian Peninsula. This heritage is threatened by the recent invasion of the red palm weevil(RPW) from Southeast Asia. In Saudi Arabia, a national campaign for control of RPW by containment/destruction of infested plants, injection and spraying of biochemical and chemicalpesticide treatments in heavily infested and newly infested areas, and the use of pheromone/kairomone traps for monitoring and reduction of RPW populations has been only partiallysuccessful in controlling its spread. New methods are needed to help manage the RPW populations.At a workshop in Riyadh in March 2010, plans were recommended to 1) devise andtest new biological, chemical, and biotechnological methods to manage RPW in farms andurban palms; 2) compare the economic and logistic feasibility of acoustic and other detectionmethods against RPW larvae; and 3) develop biosensor indicators of RPW infestation in datepalms. If these initiatives are successful, they will be of great assistance to landscape and orchardmanagers dealing with such a challenging pest of a highly valuable tree.

La palmera datilifera es considerada una parte importante del patrimonio religioso, culturaly económico de la Península Arábiga. Este patrimonio está amenazado por la reciente invasióndel picudo rojo de las palmeras (PRP) del sudeste de Asia. En un taller celebrado enmarzo de 2010, se recomendaron las siguientes planes: 1) diseñar y probar nuevos métodosbiológicos, químicos y biotecnológicos para manejar el PRP en granjas y palmas urbanas, 2)comparar la viabilidad económica y logística del método acústico y otros métodos de deteccióncontra las larvas de PRP y 3) elaborar indicadores biosensores para infestaciones dePRP en las palmeras datiliferas. Si estos esfuerzos tienen éxito, será de gran ayuda para losadministradores que trabajan en el campo y las huertas que tienen que enfrentar esta desafianteplaga de un árbol de alto valor para la región.

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