Effective January 18, 2015, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is declaring eradication of red palm weevil (RPW) from the Laguna Beach area of Orange County, California.
On October 15, 2010, APHIS confirmed the first U.S. detection of this pest in a Canary Island date palm tree stump in a residential area of Laguna Beach, California. A local arborist reported the find, which was determined to be a dead adult RPW. APHIS, Orange County, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) initiated delimitation and visual surveys around the detection site and conducted targeted surveys in nearby nurseries.
APHIS worked closely with CDFA, Orange County, University of California Cooperative Extension, homeowners, local community officials, and arborists to remove several damaged palms and expand the surveys to nearby areas. APHIS provided technical expertise and coordinated outreach and support for the local community to eliminate this pest.
In accordance with European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization international standards, a three-year period free from any RPW detections is necessary to declare this area free from this pest. APHIS has met this standard as the last confirmed detection of RPW occurred on January 18, 2012.
RPW is one of three giant palm weevils of the genus Rhynchophorus that are native to Southeast Asia and known to occur in Africa, Europe, Oceania, North America, and the Caribbean. Giant palm weevils are a major economic pest of palms, including coconut, date, oil, and sago palms, though their host range can also include Arecaceae, Poeceae, and Agavaceae.
For additional information on RPW, you may call APHIS National Emergency Response Coordinator Eileen Smith at 301-851-2155.