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Have you seen Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus)?
Hawaii Early Detection Network Priority Pest for all islands in Hawaii


Red Palm Weevil Larvae
The larvae of the red palm weevil are 2 inches long.
Red Palm Weevil Adult
An adult red palm weevil.
Red palm weevil damage
Red palm weevil damage on a Phoenix canariensis palm. Note the weevil-damaged fronds with broken stems and incomplete leaflets at the crown of the tree.
Images: (left, center) Luigi Barraco; (right) Antonio Lambe

Identification: The Red Palm Weevil (RPW) has not been detected in Hawaii. The RPW are relatively large beetles, averaging 1.5 inches in length. They vary in color from red to reddish-brown. The larvae are pale yellow legless grubs with brown heads which can reach 2 inches in length.
Impacts: Red Palm Weevils attack many species of palms including coconut, sago, and date palms. It is considered the most destructive pest of the date palm in the world. Larvae and adults will feed on an individual palm until it is completely dead, at which point adults will fly on in search of a new food source. Adult weevils deposit eggs in the palm sheath and the larvae develop in the crown area of the palm first. Dieback will be noticed in the apical region (topmost growing area) of the palm first. Frass, or fine powdery beetle droppings, will become evident at the base newly emerging fronds. Eventually, the larvae make tunnels in the main trunk of the palm. A thick brown fluid may seep out of the trunk from the tunnels and an infestation may not be noticed until the palm looses all of its fronds and the trunk is rotten.
Dispersal Mechanism: In August of 2010, arborists were removing a large Canary Island date palm that was dying from a property in Laguna Beach, California when they discovered that the palm was infested with adult weevils and their larvae which were later confirmed to be the Red Palm Weevil. This was the first report of the RPW in the United States. The RPW is native to Southeast Asia. Its main method of dispersal is thought to be through the transport of live palms in the nursery trade. Adult weevils are known to fly up to 900 yards at a time in search of a new host palm and can move over 4 miles in 3-5 days. If you see this weevil anywhere in Hawaii- let someone know! If you are in doubt, send a picture to the reporting page and we will help you identify it.

More information about this pest


Red Palm Weevil look-alikes:


New Guinea sugarcane weevil

New Guinea sugarcane weevil (Rhabdoscelus obscurus):
The New Guinea sugarcane weevil is a pest of sugarcane, palms, and occasionally papayas that is present throughout Hawaii. The adult weevil grows to only 0.5 inches, which is smaller than the 1.5 inch long red palm weevil.

Buddleja davidii

New Guinea sugarcane weevil (Rhabdoscelus obscurus)
Images: Forest & Kim Starr

Last Updated: Thursday April 25 2013. If you have any questions about the Hawaii Early Detection Network contact reportapest-maui@lists.hawaii.edu.
Funding and support for this project was made possible by the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council, the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry assistance, and University of Hawai'i-Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.