Quarantine protocols against the spread of red palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) in date palm
Abstract: The red palm weevil (RPW) Rhynchophorus ferrugineus is a key pest of date palm in the Middle East. This weevil is currently reported from over 50 % of the date growing countries of the world. The area under date palm Phoenix dactylifera has significantly increased during the last two decades where date palm is propagated through offshoots. RPW larvae are often found in the offshoots, resulting in the spread of the pest and its re-inoculation where RPW is already controlled. Currently, there are no quarantine protocols to ensure that offshoots which are transported for planting, are free of RPW larvae. In this study, offshoots were sprayed and dipped separately with fipronil and imidacloprid. Results revealed that dipping gave complete mortality of the larvae. Dipping was significantly better than spraying. It was also seen that dipping offshoots in fipronil 0.004 % and 0.002 % for 30 and 60 min, respectively, resulted in 100 % mortality of larvae. The toxicity resulted in complete mortality of larvae and adults that were exposed to offshoot tissue that was dipped in fipronil. For this reason, it is recommended to dip offshoots by fipronil (0.004 % and 30 min) before transporting.