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Review on the Management of Red Palm Weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier in Date Palm Phoenix dactylifera L

Naji Mordi Al-Dosary, Shoki Al-Dobai, Jose Romeno Faleiro.


Red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) is a key pest of date palm Phoenix dactylifera L and continues to spread among and within date palm plantation countries. Globally, R. ferrugineus has the widest geographical range among the genus of Rhynchophorus weevils and is known to cause complete destruction of palms often resulting in widespread damage to entire grooves of cultivated date palms. Since R. ferrugineus was first recognized as a threat to date palm production in the mid 1980s for GCC countries, scientists and growers have deployed several methods to control this destructive pest, with the use of chemical insecticides being the main strategy until the synthesis of the male aggregation pheromone in 1993. This article reviews the current literature on different control methods to evaluate the effectiveness of various control options and proposes an overall strategy to manage R. ferrugineus in date palm.
The R. ferrugineus control methods include prospects of early detection techniques, role of phyto-sanitation and agro-techniques (palm and field sanitation, palm injury prevention, elimination of hidden breeding sites including abandoned date plantations), semiochemicals and insecticide applications in preventive and curative treatments. Further, case studies of area-wide R. ferrugineus management in date palm besides the potential of biological control methods particularly with regard to the use of entomopathogenic fungi and nematodes and also the role of regulatory methods to regulate transport and transfer of infested palm trees (domestic and international quarantine) is presented.
A review of the available control methodologies suggests that R. ferrugineus can be managed by deploying an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy comprising of several tactics including regulatory methods, behaviour manipulation involving insect aggregation pheromones for monitoring and mass trapping adult weevils, chemical and biological control, crop and field sanitation ,eliminating hidden breeding sites, manipulation of cultural practices involving in-groove humidity and palm density, frond and offshoot removal, besides regular dissemination of R. ferrugineus-IPM technologies among farmers and pest managers.

Key words: Date palm, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, red palm weevil, IPM

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