Short communication. Efficacy of phosphine as a fumigant against Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in palms
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The red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) (Coleoptera, Curculionidae), the major pest of palms in the Mediterranean, has mainly spread through movement of infested plants. The aim of this work was to determine the possibility of using aluminium phosphide in palms as a safe quarantine treatment against this pest. Laboratory tests were carried out on eggs, young and old larvae, pupae and adults of R. ferrugineus with different doses of Eurofume (R) and mortality was assessed. Fumigations of infested canary palms were carried out in a hermetic container and subsequently palms were carefully dissected and all R. ferrugineus specimens found, either dead or alive, were counted. Results suggest that a dose of 1.14 g aluminium phosphide m(-3) for 3 days is enough to kill all stages of R. ferrugineus in an infested palm tree. Provided that applied dose of aluminium phosphide is not phytotoxic for palms, this treatment could significantly reduce at low cost the enormous risks that palm imports suppose worldwide.