42 Billion worms will be making their way from Germany to Israel, in a national campaign to combat the palm weevil beetle using a natural method.
The larvae of the Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, or the Asian palm weevil, can excavate holes in the trunk of a palm trees up to a 3 feet long, weakening and eventually killing the host plant. The weevil is considered a major pest in palm plantations, including the coconut palm, date palm and oil palm.
The weevil that has spread across Israel exact a high economic cost from palm tree growers, and endanger life as they cause trees to fall unexpectedly on people’s heads.
The chemicals means of fighting this beetle are toxic to nearby humans and animals as well. And those chemicals don’t harm the weevil cocoons dwelling inside palm trees. The beetle has gradually developed resistance to the chemicals, so it is necessary to increase their strength all the time. So much so, that some communities in Israel have decided to give up and abandoned their palm trees.
Enter the nematode worms, which detect the beetles and larvae and attack them.
The nematode worms are not dangerous in any way to humans or animals, so they can be used safely even in urban areas.
The new campaign will also use special Spanish traps that spread the odor of an infected tree. The beetles attracted to the smell, enter the trap and drown in it. The trap worked successfully in the Canary Islands, which suffered a similar infestation.