Rhynchophorus Ferrugineus – Red Weevil

The insect has its origin in south-oriental Asia, till now it has attached palms in 51 countries. The adult Rhynchophorus ferrugineus has a typical reddish coloration with black striations.

The vital cycle of the insect last up to 300 days and it doesn’t correspond to a precise seasonality, therefore it is possible to contemporarily find in the same palm all  the development phases.
The female deposits up to 300 eggs, in the warm countries it’s possible to arrive to 500. Eggs open in few days, and the larvas feed vegetable fibres digging long galleries in the direction of the vehetative apex.
The fibrous cocoon is long around 5 cms.

During the winter the insect stay inside the stricken guest, therefore the bug is able to develop attacks in any period of the year.


punteruolo_rossoThe damage is caused by the young larvas that, with their galleries destroy the vegetative apexes and can jeopardize the stability of the palm up to determine its fall.  You notices at first the deterioration of some leaves, then the death of the plant arrives in 1-2 months. In the warm countries the attack is suited to the trunk and the plants slashed in general within 1 or 2 years.

Our mixture of products is able to neutralize the larval phases and also the adults.

Pathological agent: Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Oliver (fam. Curculio, Gen.Coleopterous)

Guest Plant: Even if quite all kind of palm trees can be attached, those particularly sensible to this disease are the date palms (due to their particularly tender and rich vegetable tissue), the coconut palms and the ornamental palms of the Phoenix, Washingtonia, and Chamaerops species.

Description and biological cycle: The bug is probably native of southern India and well known in all south-oriental Asia, due to  the huge damages caused to the coconut palm plantations. We find the first reports of this pathogen, in the 80’s, in Saudi Arabia, in the Countries of the Persian Gulf, in Egypt, in Israel and in the Palestinian territories. In the late 90’s it’s presence has been reported in Spain and, since 2004, in Italy.

What is certainly advisable,  is the intensification of the customs controls of the imported material so as to avoid further diffusions of the pathogen.
The adult of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus presents a typical reddish coloration, where its name comes from, with black striations of varying form and number. The length of the body can be between 19 and 45 mms.

Males and females couple more times during their vital cycle. The females depose their eggs in holes performed with the rostrum not only in the healthy vegetable parts but also in wounds and marks already present on the plant. The total number of eggs deposed from a female  can vary from about ten to various hundreds and, in particularly favourable climatic conditions like those present in the Arabian Countries, up to 500-700. The incubation lasts about 3-5 days and from the eggs come out young footless larvas, about 5 cm long, of a whitish colour and with the typical brown coloured head.

The larva immediately begins to feed herself with  the rich vegetable tissue digging long galleries in direction of the apex of the plant. During their maturity, the larvae stop their activities and start building the cocoons for the incubation of the pupa using fibres of the plant reduced in thin and long yarns.

The wintering happens inside the guest plant, therefore the bug is able to attack in any period of the year.

Visual analysis: The bug can attack both the leafage and the trunk of the palm, usually at the height of 1,50 – 2,00 meters from the terrain. The increase of the temperature, rises also  the aggressiveness of the pathogen increasing the attacks that may be conducted also towards the collar and the leafage of the tree.

The damage is caused by the young larvae that can jeopardize with their galleries the stability of the palm, enough to determine its fall. From the openings practiced on the trunk a brown coloured resinous substance is discharged, constituted by a mix of larval excretions and vegetable juices. The fluid, due to the bacteria, becomes soon malodorous and starts to strain along the stem of the plant, together with part of the sawdust produced during the excavation. If the attack is conducted from the trunk, the first to be noticed is the deterioration of some leaves and only afterwards comes the death of the plant, usually within 1-2 years and depending on the age and the initial sanitary state. If the attack is conducted from the capital, the death of the plant may come within 1-2 months.

Rhyncophorus ferrugineus – Red Palm Weevil

Knowing Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, commonly known as Red Palm Weevil, his vital cycle, his biological characteristics, the timing and formalities of the infestations, is surely essential to fight this” enemy” of our palms.

The Green World Consulting S.r.l. proud of  the professional experience of Dr. Agr. Nabawy Metwaly, now comes to defend and safeguard all kinds of palm species. The experience matured up to now against the Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus O.) is strong of successes obtained in a variety of  territories and conducted throughout  the use of the endotherapic method, obtaining excellent results both in curative and in preventive phase  interventions.

Research and field application have allowed the improvement of the interventional techniques performed against the parasite. The administration of a product with a highly effective active principle occurs  through the use of an innovative equipment, ready to suit for the species to be treated. The whole method has been patented and certified thanks to the extended research and experiment activities conducted in the Arabic Countries by Dr. Agr. Nabawy Metwaly.


- Since 2004, we are assigned by the Saudi Arabian’s Agriculture Office in the research of struggle methods against the disease of the palms, collaborating with the Institutes of Phytopathology and Entomology of the Universities of Cairo, of Alexandria of Egypt and King Abdelaziz University of Rhyad.  Due to the results obtained, we have the exclusive in the territory of the Arabic Countries for the application of the therapy against the Rhynchophorus ferrugineus.
- Since  2005 we apply with success the endotherapic method against the Red Palm Weevil, satisfying the demand for palm-trees guardianship, both of single trees belonging to private individuals  and of entire public urban areas –either linear or in groups- where the palmery constitute the decoration of city parks or boulevards. Particularly in theLazio region we boast of more than 7500 treated palms, in Sicily, (Palermo) about 1000 and in Campania 250 trees. Our vast experience permits us to promptly answer to quantitative demands or phytosanitary  emergencies, thanks to the competence of our technicians and the proved value of our  registered method.

- Since 2007 we have started an interdisciplinary biennial project of research, finalized to develop biological products for the palm nutrition and the control of parasitic and pathogenic agents, as the Red Palm Weevil, collaborating with the Department of Geology, Mechanical Engineering, Naturalistic and Territory Hydraulic Systems of the University of Tuscia, Viterbo.

- Since 2008 we collaborate with the European project sponsored by the European Community and supported by many Arabian States, (Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Arabic Emirates), Turkey, Spain and Italy. The study foresees, through a comparison between the morphology of the plants and the behaviour of the pathogenic agents, the selection of a palm variety resistant to the Fusarium oxysporum disease and a new paraciticidal  treatment against the Rhynchophorus ferrugineus,.
The success of the method as patented by us, is officially certified by the Egyptian Office of the Agriculture and by the positive result of the endotherapic treatment. The survival and the renewed state of health of palm trees intended to be felled, before our intervention is more than a proof of our efficacy.


- Study methods against the Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus O.):

The method used by the Green World Consulting S.r.l. is the endotherapic one, specific for the palm trees. The cannula insertion points, the pressures to be  exercised, the curative mixtures and the machinery itself have been set up following specific protocols and close examination procedures of experimental studies  throughout continuous updating activities and participating in numerous courses and seminars.

The owner, Dr. Agr. Nabawy Metwaly is holder of the international patent n° 2005110472 for a machinery of endotherapic usage related to the interventional method. The antiparasitic products used are regularly recorded at the Ministry of Health and they constitute a specific mixture, whose active principle remains active inside the palm for three months, covering the whole vital cycle of the bug (from larva to adult).

According to the data provided, the 95% of the treated trees has been completely restored from the Red Palm Weevil, fully regaining its life and production cycle without any traceable residuals of the product used to the fruit (the date).
Guarantee of the endotherapic treatment’s effectiveness as performed with the method of Dr. Agr. Nabawy Metwaly: 
Green World Consulting S.r.l. guarantees the efficacy of the preventive endotherapic treatment on healthy plantsagainst the Red Palm Weevil infestation of the palm for a ten months period.


In countries mostly affected by this infestation, many preventive measures have been adopted, such as  burning of affected or parch trees, employment of synthetic pheromone traps and alimentary baits for the massive capture and control of the curculio. Still, such procedures are wrong and dangerous and in some cases they may even facilitate the propagation of the infestation. The correct method, instead, consists in the employment of chemical products based on phosphoric esters or other active principles of the Neonicotinoid group, throughout direct injection to the trunks or with interventions to the leafage (endotherapic treatment).

The spread, the aggressiveness and the biological characteristics of the parasite, render necessary the early intervention and compulsory the need to shelter the plants from possible attacks (primary or secondary).

The defence strategy, as elaborated and carried out exclusively by our company, is based on an integrated method that includes endogenous therapy (conducted with systemic products) and a direct pressure spraying (external with a specific product to be localized to the heart of the palm).
The two methods are necessary for a complete cure, and treated plants are submitted to a periodic monitoring in order to verify the results and to plan eventual future ones.
This treatment  is applied both on apparently healthy palms (preventive phase), and on palms that present the specific symptomatology (curative phase).
In brief:

  • Endotherapy with injections of specific solutions against adult and larval elements, whose frequency will be valued based on the stage of the infestation and depending on  the structure of the single palm.
  • External spraying directly to the vegetative apex (heart of the palm) of infested plants.
  • Periodic Visual Monitoring (VTA) with recognition labelling.
  • Pruning of the plant stalks, finalized to control the diffusion of the bug, to take  care of the aesthetic aspect of the tree and to evaluate of the overall health of the plant.

Furthermore, during the preventive phase it will be our care to census the palm tree resources and to compile a special computerized map of the exact location of the plants.

Intervention procedures and product employed

The defence strategy adopted is decided case by case, depending on the gravity of the situation presented.

The infestation process has been divided in 4 infestation stages, according to a method of our exclusive invention and usage, classified in order to best evaluate the possible risks and defence strategies.
I stage: the attached leaves are still green and central vegetative apex is hardly nibbled
II stage: the attached leaves begin to wither
III stage: the foliage starts to diminish, underlining the parch
IV stage: the foliage is completely collapsed and the plant takes the characteristic form of the umbrella.

The prophylaxis foresees up to 3 interventions per year for infestations of light or average intensity (stages I and II).
Plants not yet affected by the infestation require 3 interventions per year, if they are at  less than 5 km away from affected trees.
Healthy plants that are situated more than 5 km away from affected ones, can be protected with 1 treatment every 10-12 months.
The treatments must be performed within intervals of 3 – 4 months, according to the described intervention strategy.


This procedure consists in injections, performed directly at the conductor vessels of the plant, of specific insecticide solutions already recorded by the Ministry of Health and indicated at the list of products in derogation reported by the Lazio Region, for prevention and cure, throughout a technique against adult and larval elements.
These applications occur with the use of a special pressure equipment named TREE VITAL ENDOPUMP.

Localised Sprinkle

The sprinkle localised to the heart of the palm is necessary for the positive outcome of the parasiticidal treatment as it contrasts the activity of the adults that have escaped the applied endotherapy treatment.
The parasiticidal product has a repellent action against adults and is conducted with products of biological origin regularly recorded.
The sprinkle of the crown of the palm trees is carried out using pressurised  lances and -if necessary- by  platform decks.


The monitoring is conducted visually and according to pre-arranged intervals.

- The TREE VITAL machinery for the endotherapic treatment:

Our patented TREE VITAL machinery, has been designed in order to resolve some of the  problems related to the use of other endotherapic systems. The side effects, when they occur, make the treatments inefficient or just partially efficient. Our experience in this field has permitted us the creation of a specific machinery that, resolving previous problematic aspects, is completely adaptable to the specific needs of palm trees. What has been improved is the system, based on pistons, through which the inoculation pressure can be controlled and adjusted to the osmotic pressure inside of the xylematic vessels of the plant.

The TREE VITAL has been designed respecting all international norms on safety. It has low environmental impact, as the parasiticidal product runs exclusively at the inside of the xylematic vessels of the plant. This machinery, therefore, eliminates completely any risk of pollution and any consequential danger to people and things by the diffusion of the product in the environment.
The innovation that our machinery introduces, in comparison to other endotherapic methods, can be summarize in the following aspects:

  • the pressure control through a system of pistons, permits the modulation of the pressure values in relation to the effective dimensions of the plant and the intensity of the attack of the bug, in order to avoid the break-up of the lymphatic vessels with catastrophic consequences both for the palm and for the effectiveness of the treatment.
  • the uninterrupted flow of the liquid to be inoculated allows the reduction of the operation time and avoids possible embolisms that hinder the transfer of the product inoculated in the organism of the vegetable
  • Having a special length and form,  the needles reach the necessary depth in the tissues -so that the product arrives directly and quickly to the targe-t, without the expulsion and the entry of pathogenic agents from the hole of the inoculation.

The endotherapic method, must be applied after a previous evaluation of the environmental conditions and the degree of infestation of the plant .
Considering the aforesaid, we are commercialising a specific model for the endotherapic treatments on the palms hereafter exposed.

TREE VITAL ENDOPUMP PALM: with pressure up to 25 bar. Method appropriate for localised infestations, for partial treatments and injections of aggressive products in localised areas of the plant.

Expertise is a prerequisite condition:

The application of the endotherapic method to palm trees should always take place in absolutely safe conditions and performed by qualified and specialised personnel. For this reason, attending a specific professional training course to the use of the machinery is highly recommended, as though the success of the method’s application depends also on the competence and the critical assessment of the specific situation the technician is requested to operate.

It is highly desirable to have complete monitoring and analysis data of the climatic and environmental factors, both before and after the implementation of this method.

After the endotherapic treatment, plants should be monitored for at least two years, in order to verify the efficacy of the application and -eventually- to decide for further treatments.

Even if the final success of the treatment depends also on the measures taken to avert danger throughout the preventive use of the Red Palm Weevil, a tardy intervention against severe cases of plant infestation might be fatal for the plant. In order to obtain an excellent result in the use of the endotherapic treatment, it is advisable to operate two complete treatments per year and to constantly monitor the conditions of the plant. Prevention and perfect timing of intervention are essential for any pest control action.







I° stadium
Level of light infestation: the stricken leaves remain green,
those of the vegetative apex result nibbled.



II° stadium
Level of middle infestation: the stricken leaves show signs of withering and
the vegetative apex is flattened, causing an asymmetry of the top of the plant.



III/ IV stadium
Intense level of infestation: the head of hair shows signs of
collapse a strong asymmetry and withering of leaf are notable



V/ VI  stadium
Level of serious infestation: the head is completely collapsed
the plant it assumes the characteristic form of umbrella


Stages of intervention to ensure the recovery possibilities ranging fromstage I to III


In the warm countries the attack of the Red Weevel is underlined with the attack to the trunk under the capital. It is difficult to recognize the holes of penetration and the treatment is prevented becouse the vases are interrupted and the product can not be moved.

The attack on the radical apparatus is underlined with the spillage of creamy white liquid that becomes brown by oxidation. It is characteristic the unpleasant odor of fermentation.



Statistic testing results of the Dr. Nabawy Metwaly method in Arabic Country


Statistic testing results of the Dr. Nabawy Metwaly method in Italy





Photo: The machine TREE VITAL for endotherapy of Weevil ferruginous palm: the (Killer Palm) Agent of the disease: Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Oliver (fam. Weevil Beetle January)

The application of the method endotherapic for palm must be safe and at the hands of qualified and skilled staff. It is therefore necessary to train personnel to use the machine as the success of the application depends above all on the competence and ability to assess the technician called to intervene. Appropriate and ‘monitoring and analysis of climatic and environmental factors, both before and after the application of the method.

Appropriate and ‘monitoring and analysis of climatic and environmental factors, both before and after the application of the method. After the endotherapeutic treatment plants should be monitored for at least two years, in order to verify the effectiveness of the product applied and the need for new interventions. Moreover, to achieve results that ensure the complete success and ‘essential to prevent the attack of plants by the Red Palm Weevil as in cases of severe infestation belated intervention unfortunately does not allow you to save the plant. For a correct use of the use of the method of treatment endotherapic and ‘sufficient to make two treatments per year and constantly monitor the plants. It stands out even once, then, the need to prevent infestations and to intervene at the right time.

Experimental and fight at the Red Palm Weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus):


Currently on the market there are three models of the machine TREE VITAL developed to adapt the product used and the machinery for its application to individual cases. The method endotherapic, in fact, must be applied prior assessment of the environmental conditions, climatic conditions and the degree of infestation by the plant immediately.

The method of study and struggle at the Red Palm ‘status over time with in-depth case studies, participation in courses and seminars and application of techniques known so far, reaching the development and patenting of a specific method of treatment staff and a machine for the practice endotherapic.

The products used by Green World Consulting Srl are duly registered with the Ministry of Health and consist of a specific mixture of organic chemicals and the composition of which ‘was designed specifically for the treatment of endotherapic Palma.

Laboratory tests and ‘result that at the end of the treatment, not only the palm plant derives significant benefits and that in 95% of cases appears to be fully recovered from the damage caused by the Red Palm Weevil, but that takes its full life cycle and production without the fruit (date) there is traceability of the product used.

The active ingredient used exerts its effect within the palm for a period of three months in order to cover the entire life cycle of the beetle (larva to the adult).

ADULT INDIVIDUALS COVERED: The color changes from bright red to dark brown. Lose strength until they die.

Notes on the situation in Europe


Rhynchophorus-ferrugineusFino to 2005 it was believed that the presence of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus in Europe was limited to the south of Spain, in Andalusia, with a localized distribution in the area of Granada and Malaga. Currently there is also in the south of France and Greece.

In Italy the organism was reported in Sicily, Campania, Puglia, Tuscany, Lazio and joins the list of pests that already damaging the palms of our country.

The beetle is ranked at “ALERT” by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (see chart), it is possible that is introduced into the body of European legislation as “quarantine”. In Italy, specifically, a working group coordinated by the Central Plant Protection Service at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, is drafting legislation for the “Fight mandatory”.

The weevil is a beetle particularly voracious and aggressive, infests several species of palm,
leading them to death in just a short time. In literature are indicated as species particularly sensitive to Cocos nucifera (Coconut Palm), Elaeis (African Oil Palm), Phoenix dactylifera (Date Palm), Metroxylon sago, Borassus flabellifer, Arenga pinnata) and many more like Phoenix. In Lazio the beetle has made its appearance in 2006 with an outbreak in the east of Rome (area Axa – Casal Palocco) and, immediately after, in the south pontine, in the towns of the coast (Sabaudia, Terracina, S. Felice Circeo) where palm, although the origins of non-native, is an areal election as an ornamental plant. Currently the infestation is denoted by lethal attacks against the species of palms Phoenix canariensis.
  The palm cultivation has in Lazio and throughout Italy exclusively ornamental purposes that are yet to be reckoned. Production and marketing of ornamental plants in question contribute a large number of companies nurseries, many of which specialize in settore.Anche some small businesses maintenance and management of green offer specialized services targeted to the cultivation of palm trees, to their maintenance and aesthetic care.

The primary symptoms of weevil infestation of palm are difficult to detect. The infestation of the palms of Lazio then assumes, as in all other regions, a feature of extreme gravity determined by the fact that the actions phytoiatric and prophylaxis are very limited in what limited plant protection products are employable, according to law, of palm plants in the areas in which they are grown (home gardens and urban environment).

The forecasts for the coming years, are inauspicious having this beetle is a direct correlation with the death of the plants (plant infested = plant death).

Metwaly Method Endotherapy

Tissue regeneration in a specimen used in testing

Tissue regeneration in a specimen used in testing

Attack Advanced Rhynchophorus f. in some cities' Italian

Attack Advanced Rhynchophorus f. in some cities’ Italian

Initial symptoms: inclination of the central leaves and opening outside the norm

Initial symptoms: inclination of the central leaves and opening outside the norm

Hole made by the beetle: within six months of treatment the wound on the trunk heal.

Hole made by the beetle: within six months of treatment the wound on the trunk heal.

Success in Saudi Arabia

Success in Saudi Arabia

EGYPT: severe attack of Rhynchophorus the head of Palma, but the care of the Trunk Injection will be able to save it

EGYPT: severe attack of Rhynchophorus the head of Palma, but the care of the Trunk Injection will be able to save it

Desiccation total after a month from the attack of the Red Palm Weevil (photo Sabaudia Latina)

Desiccation total after a month from the attack of the Red Palm Weevil (photo Sabaudia Latina)