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The County of San Diego has announced it will hold an informational meeting on August 18 to alert the public of dangers posed by the discovery of two types of exotic weevil recently discovered in the region. The insects threaten several species of palm tree, including those with harvestable crops such as coconut and date palms.

Two species of the giant insect, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (commonly known as the red palm weevil) and Rhynchophorus palmarum (South American palm weevil), have been detected recently. They can grow to over two inches in size, and in addition to damaging the trees they feed upon spread nematodes, worms that cause disease in plants such as red ring disease in coconuts.

The weevils are often difficult to detect, as they live within the palm trees. Their damage can be observed through notches cut from new palm fronds or a flattening of a tree’s crown.

The meeting will run from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the San Diego County Farm Bureau offices, 1670 E. Valley Parkway, Escondido. County, state, and University of California officials will present information on the weevils, their observed presence in the county, and what steps authorities are taking to prevent the pests from spreading. Individuals who find weevils larger than 1 ½” are being requested to report them by calling (800) 491-1899.

Above: the South American Palm Weevil

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