Agriculture officials warn of weevil affecting palm trees

City News Service

County, state and federal agricultural officials on Tuesday asked San Diego-area residents to keep an eye out for an exotic species of weevil that could threaten palm trees.

Eight South American palm weevils, in the beetle family, were discovered recently in San Ysidro, according to the San Diego County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures.

It is unclear how serious a threat palm weevil is, but a relative, the red palm weevil, also known as the Asian palm weevil, is extremely destructive to palm trees. A red palm weevil was found for the first time in the U.S. last year in Laguna Beach.

Agriculture officials want anyone who sees a weevil — they are black, about 1 1/2 inches long and have a pronounced snout — to report it to the state

Department of Food and Agriculture’s toll free pest hotline at (800) 491-1899 or (610) 698-1046.

Smaller weevils are not expected to be a problem.

The South American palm weevil targets date palms, Canary Island date palms, coconut palms, African oil palms, sago palms and Washingtonia fan palms. Infested palms will suffer damage to their fronds and top of their crown.

Agriculture officials have scheduled a meeting about the weevils at 3 p.m. Thursday at the San Diego County Farm Bureau, 1670 E. Valley Parkway.