Staff Reporter

POLLENSA
POLLENSA council is sending a circular to the town's residents alerting them to the presence of a dangerous plague of insects affecting the palm trees.

The presence of the “Rhynchphorus ferrugineus” is not only hitting the trees but is also putting the “garballo”, an indigenous species which is protected, at risk.

The town's environmental department, following the directives of the Balearic Ministry for the Environment, has started an information campaign warning the population of the danger of pruning palm trees. “This insect can detect the smell of the milky liquid secreted by the palm trees from a great distance when they are pruned and, attracted by this smell they transfer from one town to another”, said the docks delegate, Francisca Ramon.

In the circular sent to the residents, the councillor for the environment, Jaume Plomer, warned that, “in spite of all the information which has been distributed, people are continuing to prune the palm trees in the town, which has only contributed to extending the plague which has already affected a large number of palm trees, with the danger that it will continue to affect many more and therefore threaten the “garballo”.

The “Rhynchphorus ferrugineus” is a beetle orginating in Asia which came to Spain in 1995. It was found on Majorca for the first time in October 2006, in Sa Rapita.

It prefers palm trees from the Canary Islands, although it has also been detected in date palms and, most recently, in the Washingtonania spp.
The larva is white, in the shape of a date, and does not have any feet.
To start with it eats the new leaves and later attacks the trunk of the palm tree. It makes cocoons out of the fibres of the plant.
Francisca Ramon explained that the plague is not affecting all the palm trees in the town. “The residents in Gotmar thought that theirs had been affected as they were looking quite old but no, the insect attacks the youngest part”, said Ramon.

The first damage to be observed in the affected trees is that leaves will detach themselves or fall from the top of the tree, and the insect bites can be seen at the base of the leaf.

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