The red beetle was once causing havoc with palm trees in Majorca. There is now far better control. | Archive


The red beetle pest that attacks and kills palm trees is well under control in Palma. So far this year there have been just six reported new cases of trees that have been infected - all of them the Canary Island variety. This increase compares with 23 more in 2016 and with 93 in 2013, which was the worst year between 2013 and 2016. A total of 400 trees have now been affected; the number was 185 in 2012.

The trees can be cured if they are given the right treatment. The town hall says that 15 were restored over the first six months of this year, bringing the total to 53 since 2014. The number of reinfestations by the beetle is also down considerably - from 43 in 2014 to 14 between January and August this year.

These numbers refer to trees on municipal property. As far as palm trees on private land are concerned, the town hall explains that it resumed a census in June and conducted inspections. This action was in different areas of the city, such as Sant Jordi and between Portixol and Arenal. Between June and August there were 588 inspections: 28% of the trees were affected, and once more it was the Canary Island species that was mostly harmed.

The town hall does take action against owners in some instances. Cutting down infected trees and incinerating them is one way of helping to prevent the spread of the beetle, and there have been orders from different town halls for this to be done. Another way is "shock treatment", which can revive a tree and at the same kill off beetles. There have been twelve notices of sanctions this year that relate to nineteen trees. In Palma as a whole there are over 32,500 palm trees, 90% of which are on private land.