We have a few large, and very we'll established, Phoenix Palms which have been in the garden for over 10 years. About a month ago I noticed that the outside leaves of one of the palms were dying off much faster than usual and further investigation revealed that part of the base was rotting away and I could hear a loud clicking sound coming from within. I broke off the dead bases of previously cut branches to find over a dozen large grubs about 1 to 2 inches long within the base of the plant (my neighbour subsequently found over 20 in the roots of his dying palm).
I then did my own research on the internet and discovered that this pest was brought to Spain a number of years ago and was in palms brought from Egypt. That the Spanish government had banned such imports but that it was too late and the bug had already spread. The weevil itself is quite large at about an inch and a half and is obviously red! It is particularly active in the summer months and is attracted to the cut branches of this particular palm although it has been known to affect others palm type plants.
Once you notice a palm is infested, I am told, that it is probably too late and therefore almost impossible to eradicate from that palm and only preventative measures can be taken to protect any non affected plants. The infested plants should be dug up and destroyed by fire (for which it is necessary to obtain a licence at this time of year).
Any existing, non affected, plants should be treated and after much research I have been told that the best treatment is by use of a chemical insecticide called Imidacloprid. This is available at the moment from the Armourers shop at the side of Mora Oil petrol station in Arboleas where the temporary road is. They sell it in small bottles for €3.95 and €5.95 under the brand name 'Coiraze'. They also stock it in one litre bottles in the name of 'Pritt' at €25. As I have a few palms and they need to be treated monthly I bought the one litre size. Whilst I was there I bumped into friends from other areas of the valley who had the same problem!
Apologies if you are already aware of this problem but thought, in the interests of all gardeners, it would be better to spread the word by all means. If you have anything else about this bug which you feel should be added to this post please let me know.
UPDATE I have spoken with Sergio who runs the new garden centre in Los Carasoles and he will get some stock in of this product as soon as he can.