Palma.—So far this year, the Environment Ministry has traced 647 palm trees on Majorca with symptoms of the plague. Of these, 446 have been chopped down.

It has been over the past few months when there has been the most notable increase in the number of trees affected by the plague. The “red beetle” scourge is even now affecting date palms and palm hearts.

Until only recently, the plague had been limited to canary palms.
The Environment ministry has said that so far this year, there have been 557 calls from people asking for information about the red beetle. Owners of palm trees, whether they be in public places or private gardens, are responsible for keeping the trees in good health. Failure to do so, or in any way hindering the ministry's programme of eradicating the plague wherever possible could mean being fined between 3'000 and 120'000 euros. To date in 2012, steps have been taken to fine those failing to comply with the law on 41 occasions.

The government is launching a new campaign to remove palm trees which have been affected by the red beetle plague which will last until the end of the year. Technicians explained yesterday that the months of October, November and December are when the plague can be detected most easily. So far this year, the ministry has spent 189'000 euros on treatment of palms, removal of dead material and paying specialists to carry out the work.

In the final quarter of 2011, the ministry tried “shock” treatment to try and get rid of the red beetle plague by mass chopping down and removal of all affected trees.

Local authorities are very worried by the extent to which the plague can reach as it is understood that a nucleus of red beetles can affect palms within a 5 kilometre radius.

Citizen co-operation is very important, said the ministry as if private individuals don't keep their palms in good health, the plague can't be stopped.