Early Warning System for Red Palm Weevils
Updated: May 3, 2022
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has identified Red Palm Weevil as one of the most destructive agricultural pests. Spotta is working with international partners to deploy a monitoring system which will revolutionise the industry and minimise the losses caused by this pest to the date palm industry.
About the Red Palm Weevil
The Red Palm Weevil is the single most destructive pest for over 40 palm tree species worldwide. It burrows into palm trunks and devours the trees from within. Infestations often go unnoticed until the weevils have hollowed out the trunk, killing the tree. Red Palm Weevil causes $1.2 billion damage annually to date palm plantations in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern Europe. In the absence of active monitoring, the pest endangers the livelihood of over 50 million date farmers.
Current pest management practices
The costs of current pest management practices, including traps, human assessment, treatment and loss of crops, are around $2,200 per hectare a year.
Despite the high level of damage caused by Red Palm Weevil, the current manual monitoring processes are expensive, unreliable and do not provide centralised data. Farmers and governments have been unable to contain the explosive spread of Red Palm Weevil, creating an urgent need for a new solution.
Our new monitoring solution will act as an ‘early warning system’, ensuring the right action can be taken at the right time. Swift action against the Red Palm Weevil will help reduce losses by up to 70%, and contain the spread of the pest. The system allows continuous monitoring of the insects, with real-time information accessible on an online dashboard. The system is designed to work for several months without the need for servicing, making it cost effective.
Dr Jose Romeno Falerio, one of the world’s leading experts on the Red Palm Weevil, says: “Spotta’s technology is going to be a game-changer for the continuous automatic monitoring of this major pest, leading to its better management. Existing methods have failed to contain the rapid spread of this aggressive pest and Spotta promises to be the key that unlocks a better, more sustainable solution. I’m excited to be working with Spotta to support their team in deploying their technology for Red Palm Weevil.”
A combination of lab, arena and field trials are being undertaken to ensure the product design works, first in simulated environments and in the real world. The trials are being held in key geographic areas around the world which are impacted by Red Palm Weevils, with the new product due on the market later this year.