South American Palm Weevil

The South American Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus palmarum) is one of a few destructive weevils known especially for attacking Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariencsis). First discovered in 2010 in San Diego, California, the SAPW poses a major threat to palm trees in the South West. Adult beetles are deep glossy black and can be up to three inches long.  Females drill holes into the plant and lay their eggs, which hatch and feed on the the palm leaves and crown, creating large channels through the plant material and killing the plant. Populations as low as 30 larvae can kill a tree. SAPW is also a known vector of Red Ring Disease, which can quickly kill a palm tree on its own.

Download Pest Sheet




  • Common Symptoms
    • Common symptoms include yellowing foliage, flattening of the crown, holes and tunnels with an accumulation of frass at the base of the tree and pupal cases that look like shredded wheat biscuits.

    • Trunk injection of IMA-jet (Imidacloprid) will give both preventative and curative control providing there has not been extensive feeding damage to the palm. It is also recommended to apply PHOSPHO-jet to help control any secondary disease pathogens and PALM-jet Mg to provide needed nutrients for overall plant health and vigor.

    References And Photo Credits
    • Photo courtesy of CDFA