Red Palm Weevil – ISCA Technologies
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Red Palm Weevil

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Curculionidae
Genus: Rhynchophorus
Species: Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier


    Life Cycle

    • Eggs - Females oviposit by boring with their rostrum into palm tissue, forming a hole into which they lay eggs. The eggs are light yellow, approximately 2.5 mm long, and are often laid near a tree wound. The female lays several eggs near each other and cements the hole closed. Females lay an average of 250 eggs, which take about three days to hatch (Murphy and Briscoe 1999).
    • Larvae - Upon hatching, larvae are whitish-yellow in color and begin to feed on surrounding palm tissue, moving toward the interior of the palm. Larvae leave a tunnel behind them filled with frass and plant sap. The larval period requires an average of two months (Murphy and Briscoe 1999).                     
    • Pupa - Mature larvae pupate in an oval-shaped cocoon (about 80 x 35 mm) inside of the destroyed tissue of the tree. The pupal stage requires an average of three weeks (Murphy and Briscoe 1999).                                                                                                                     
    • Adult -Adults are reddish-brown and about 35 x 12 mm in size . After hatching into an adult, the weevil emerges from the pupal case, but remains in the cocoon for several days before exiting; during this time, entomologists believe that the weevil is completing sexual maturity. The adult then has a stage of one week outside the cocoon before beginning the oviposition period that lasts about 8 to 10 weeks. Adult weevils live for about 2 to 3 months, feeding on palms, mating multiple times, and laying eggs (Murphy and Briscoe 1999). The sex ratio found in a trapping study in the United Arab Emirates was 1 male: 1.5 females (Abbas et al. 2006), in Egypt, 1:2 (El-Garhy 1996), and in Israel, 1:2.5 (Soroker et al. 2005).

    Adult weevils are predominantly active during the day and are capable of long distance flight (> 900 meters) to locate hosts or breeding sites. Marked and released weevils migrated up to 7 km during a period of 3 to 5 days (Abbas et al. 2006).



    The Red Palm Weevil is native to Southeast Asia and is known from the following regions:

    • Asia: Red Palm Weevil has been recorded in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China (Guangdong, Taiwan), Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak), Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
    • Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Madagascar, Malta, Morocco.
    • Middle East: Bahrain, Georgia Palestine, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
    • Europe: Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Turkey.
    • Oceania: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands.
    • The Caribbean: Aruba.
    • The United States: Laguna Beach, Orange County, California


    Primary Host 

    Betelnut palm, Areca catechu

    Queen palm, Arecastrum romanzoffianum

    Sugar palm, Arenga pinnata

    Toddy palm, Borassus flabellifer

    Palasan, Calamus merrillii

    Fishtail palm, Caryota cumingii

    Mountain fish tail palm, Caryota maxima

    Coconut, Cocos nucifera

    Gebang palm, Corypha utan (= C. gebanga and C. elata)

    African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis

    Ribbon fan palm, Livistona decipiens

    Chinese fan palm, Livistona chinensis

    Chinese fan palm, Livistona chinensis var. subglobosa

    Sago palm, Metroxylon sagu

    Thorny palm, Oncosperma horrida

    Nibung palm, Oncosperma tigillarium

    Cuban royal palm, Roystonea regia

    Canary Island palm, Phoenix canariensis

    Date palm, Phoenix dactylifera

    East Indian wine palm, Phoenix sylvestris

    Regal palm, Roystonea regia

    Hispaniola palm, Sabal blackburniana (=umbraculifera)

    Chinese windmill palm, Trachycarpus fortunei

    Washington palms, Washingtonia sp.

    Secondary Host

    American agave, Agave americana

    Sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum 
























    Economic Damage








    Larval feeding holes at base of frond
    Adult emergence holes
    Feeding grubs

    Larval damage to palm fronds
    Larval damage to palm fronds
    Deformed, offset growth of the top canopy of a palm infested


    Hook RPWTM, formulated in ISCA’s proprietary food-grade Emulsion Controlled Release Technology (ECRTTM), with the active ingredients of the nature identical red palm weevil aggregation pheromone and the insect toxicant cypermethrin, is a food-bait-free method to 'attract and kill' RPW adults  in palm  plantations.   Hook RPW has been field tested and demonstrated to have key advantages over traditional RPW monitoring and mass trapping  practices.



     Pheromone lure for red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus. Nature identical, environmentally friendly, species specific pheromone suspended in time release formula, stored in blister cup. 

    Field life: 20 to 26 weeks depending on environmental conditions.




    The ISCA Pitfall Trap is a proven, aesthetically pleasing and inconspicuous trap designed for use, with the appropriate species specific pheromone, for the mass trapping and monitoring of many beetle pest species such as the red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, South American palm weevil Rhynchophorus palmarum , and beetles of the subfamily Dynastinae, including the Asiatic / Coconut rhinoceros beetle Oryctes rhinoceros. This trap has prefabricated cuts on the sides which allow for stakes (not included) to be inserted through the cuts into the ground for improved stability if necessary, for example, from wind or animal activity. The ISCA Pitfall Trap is similar to the Picusan trap but has been improved with ISCA's enlarged lure receptacle which offer more lure options. When compared to standard pitfall traps, the ISCA Pitfall Trap has been proven to be more effective and require less maintenance. The unique shape and texture allows trap to be deployed above ground, no burying needed! There is a water reservoir inside for trapping insects.



    The pitfall trap vane kit uses sturdy, water-proof, UV-proof, corrugated plastic in the shape of vanes for use in a bucket style pitfall trap. The AR980 vane kit should be used when trapping insects that may both fly as well as crawl, such as the red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, South American palm weevil Rhynchophorus palmarum, and beetles of the subfamily Dynastinae, including the Asiatic / Coconut rhinoceros beetle Oryctes rhinoceros. Many types of beetles are strong fliers.

    The use of the AR980 vane kit plays an important role to intercept strong flying beetles in flight, and cause them to fall into the pitfall trap. Without the use of the vane kit, a typical pitfall trap may only trap the beetles which crawl into the trap, while many of the flying beetles may fly around the trap but not downwards into the pitfall trap. The vanes also have a cutout to hold ISCA's externally accessible lure receptacle, which is larger and designed to hold many more types of lures and dispensers (both solid and liquid attractants, plugs, rubber septa, tapes, wafers, sachets, capsules, insecticide strips, ISCA's ECRT and SPLAT formulations, etc. ) than other types of lure receptacles.


      Carry out sanitation in nurseries, gardens, landscapes, and other establishments where hosts are present within the core and buffer areas. Depending on the circumstances and equipment available, use the following techniques:

      • Cut into small pieces and burn
      • Prune foliage 120 cm from base
      • Treat injuries with an insecticide
      • Encourage ground covers
      • Treat for any diseases Burning Destroy palms at the first sign of larval weevil infestations by cutting down, shredding into small pieces, and burning, all infested palms. This practice will prevent larvae from hatching and reinfesting an area (Alhudaib 2009b; Giblin-Davis 2001). Burning the top of the tree alone does not kill the stages in the middle of the trunk, so heavily infested trees should be uprooted, split open to expose the different stages of the pest inside, and burned (Alhudaib 2009b; Soroker et al. 2005).


      When green leaves are trimmed, they should be cut 120 cm from the base (Alhudaib 2009b).

      Treating Palm Injuries

      All injuries to palms must be treated immediately with an insecticide because female weevils will lay eggs in any opening (Alhudaib 2009b). If sealant is available, wounds should be quickly covered to stop the release of kairomones, which attract the weevils.

      Encouraging Ground Covers

      Encourage ground covers around areas with high palm populations because this promotes higher levels of natural enemies and fewer pest problems (Murphy and Briscoe 1999). Treating Diseases Any palms infested with leaf or bud rot should first be treated with fungicide and then treated with insecticide because they are more attractive to weevils for laying their eggs (Alhudaib 2009b)



      Trap Construction and Set-up Many of the traps used to capture red palm weevils are variations of a bucket design with a tight-sealing lid. Surveyors can alter the design of the trap to suit the materials that are available. See examples of traps in Images on page C-1. Regardless of the materials, construct the traps so they include the following features:

      • Rough texture on the outside of the bucket to allow weevils to crawl up the outer surface (attach burlap, ground cloth, or some other material, to the outside of the container)
      • Holes large enough (approximately 3 cm) to permit weevil entry in the side of the bucket, cut near the rim
      • Sufficient space at the bottom for a liquid mixture that is used to trap and kill the weevils that enter the trap
      • Trap lid to prevent contamination of the trap contents
      • Trap lid with a loop for hanging the trap in trees Use the following instructions to set-up the traps: Survey Procedures 4-10 Red Palm Weevil 3/2011-1 Emergency and Domestic Programs
      1.  Assign an identification number to each trap.
      2. Use a wire to attach the lure to the trap lid, allowing the lure to suspend about one-half inch above the liquid. Replace the lures every 3 months or when the liquid is no longer visible in the lure. 3. Prepare a 50 to 50 solution of propylene glycol and water (anti-freeze/ coolant) and place it in the bottom of the inside of the bucket. Enough water and propylene glycol should be added to cover 75 percent of the food bait. The solution will extend the life of the food baits, as well as decrease the rate of evaporation. Replace the food baits every 4 to 6 weeks.
      3. Add food baits to the trap liquid to greatly increase the attractiveness of the trap. Food baits can include sugarcane, apples, palm stems (chopped into 3 to 4 cm pieces) or 10 percent molasses containing 1 teaspoon of bakers yeast. Food baits should be replaced every 2 to 3 weeks.
      4. Service the trap at least once each week.
      5. Keep a record of the dates on which lures, liquids, or foods, were replaced; or, when data was collected. Servicing Traps—The number of weevils captured should be recorded each week. Replace the lures every 3 months or when the liquid is no longer visible in the lure. Replace the food baits every 2 to 3 weeks unless antifreeze solution is used. If antifreeze solution is added to the liquid, food baits should remain attractive to the weevils for 4 to 6 weeks, at which time they should be replaced. If a longer interval between servicing is required, make sure sufficient trap liquid is present so that the traps always contain several inches of liquid. 



      Put infested wood in a wood chipper Burn - Trees do not completely burn, larvae can still survive
      Monitor traps and replace lures on a regular basis Hang traps on the tree
      Use dates inside the trap 

      Monitoring for Red Palm Weevil Populations 

      • Place dates in the water. 
      • Must change dates out every week. The dates will lose attraction to the RPW once they start to rot.